Women's preference for masculine traits is disrupted by images of male-on-female aggression

Yaoran Li, Drew H. Bailey, Benjamin Winegard, David A. Puts, Lisa L.M. Welling, David C. Geary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Women's preferences for men's masculinized faces and voices were assessed after women (n = 331) were primed with images of male-on-male aggression, male-on-female aggression, pathogens, and neutral scenes. Male-on-male aggression and pathogen primes were associated with increased preference for masculine traits, but the same effect emerged in the neutral condition. We show the increased preference for masculine traits was due to repeated exposure to these traits, not the priming images themselves. Images of male-on-female aggression were an exception; these elicited feelings of disgust and anger appeared to disrupt the preference for masculinized traits. The results suggest women process men's facial and vocal traits as signals of aggressive potential and lose any preference for these traits with cues indicating men might direct this aggression toward them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere110497
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 14 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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