Are men with large pupils sexy?

Women differ in preference for small, medium or large pupil-size in male faces (Tombs & Silverman, 2004). We show that preference for large pupils is significantly stronger in women who were tested in the fertile (follicular) phase of the menstrual cycle than in those tested in the non-fertile phase (luteal phase and menses) or those using hormonal birth control (a pattern seen in response to many signals of male genetic quality: Gangestad & Thornhill, 2008). In addition, measures of sociosexuality and relationship status (single vs. partnered), and of attitude to ‘bad boy’ traits in a dating partner, help to predict pupil-size preference. We found that pupil-size preference peaked early in the menstrual cycle, 4 days before the peak in risk of conception, and we discuss the contrast with other cues for which maximum response occurs around the time of peak conception risk.

Source: “Women’s preference for male pupil-size: Effects of conception risk, sociosexuality and relationship status” from Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 46, Issue 4, March 2009, Pages 503-508

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