Influence of female 2D:4D ratio on attractiveness of male vocal and facial masculinity
Item statusRestricted Access
When females are judging attractiveness of a potential mate, research indicates that degree of masculinity and femininity of a male signals his suitability for a short- or longterm relationship. Masculine males are of high genetic quality and it is evident, that for short-term relationships and copulation at peak fertility, when ‘good genes’ are crucial, more masculine males are deemed most attractive Though they do not possess significantly healthy genes, the positive personality attributions of feminine males highlights their attractiveness for long-term committed relationships. Low 2D:4D ratio in females appears to indicate greater pre-natal exposure to the male sex steroid testosterone. Scarbrough & Johnston (2005) revealed that low 2D:4D women preferred more masculine male faces for short- and long-term relationships. It seems that this is the case because they prefer short sexual relationships as opposed to committed long-term relationships, and a masculine male possesses what’s most important for that mating context; good genes. In the present study participants viewed pairs of male faces followed by pairs of male voices in order to replicate Scarbrough & Johnston’s findings and to extend them to the domain of voices. Although a relationship between 2D:4D ratio and preference for vocal masculinity has never been studied it was hypothesised that one would be revealed because cues of vocal masculinity appear to be picked up by females in the same way as cues of facial masculinity. Moreover the two domains seem to reveal a common underlying genetic state. The study however did not replicate findings revealed by Scarbrough & Johnston (2005) and furthermore failed to find evidence of a significant relationship within the domain of voice. Moreover there was no evidence supporting the claim that facial and vocal cues are part of multiple signalling, as attractiveness of face and voice was not concordant within individual males. Limitations of this study are discussed including the fact that no account was taken of hormone regulating contraception and its effect on participant preferences. The study concludes by reviewing available research evidence and suggests that there is currently a lack of clarity in terms of the relationship between 2D:4D ratio in women and pre-natal androgen exposure. Implications of this and other relevant factors for future study are discussed.