Russell R, 2009, "A sex difference in facial contrast and its exaggeration by cosmetics" Perception 38(8) 1211 – 1219
Download citation data in RIS format
A sex difference in facial contrast and its exaggeration by cosmetics
Received 15 November 2008, in revised form 6 February 2009; published online 6 August 2009
Abstract. This study demonstrates the existence of a sex difference in facial contrast. By measuring carefully controlled photographic images, female faces were shown to have greater luminance contrast between the eyes, lips, and the surrounding skin than did male faces. This sex difference in facial contrast was found to influence the perception of facial gender. An androgynous face can be made to appear female by increasing the facial contrast, or to appear male by decreasing the facial contrast. Application of cosmetics was found to consistently increase facial contrast. Female faces wearing cosmetics had greater facial contrast than the same faces not wearing cosmetics. Female facial beauty is known to be closely linked to sex differences, with femininity considered attractive. These results suggest that cosmetics may function in part by exaggerating a sexually dimorphic attribute—facial contrast—to make the face appear more feminine and hence attractive.
Full-text PDF size: 513 Kb
References 36 references, 24 with DOI links ()
Your computer (IP address: 188.8.131.52) has not been recognised as being on a network authorised to view the full text or references of this article. If you are a member of a university library that has a subscription to the journal, please contact your serials librarian (subscriptions information).