Positive relationships between perceived intelligence, actual intelligence and facial attractiveness have been attributed to (a) an attractiveness halo effect in which attractive individuals are attributed with positive personality traits and (b) a “good genes” model of mate choice. We sought to determine whether cues to intelligence exist in the face beyond an attractiveness halo effect and to explore relationships between residual cues to intelligence and personality attributions in male and female faces. In Study 1, we attempted to parametrically manipulate the perceived intelligence of faces while controlling for attractiveness. Results demonstrated that we manipulated perceived intelligence but may not have adequately controlled for an attractiveness halo effect: faces that were manipulated to look high in perceived intelligence were rated as more attractive. In Study 2, we found perceived intelligence to be related positively to perceived friendliness and sense of humour in male and female faces and inversely to perceived dominance in female faces. Results are discussed in the context of models of “good genes” and “attractiveness halo” models of the relationships between intelligence and attractiveness.
Experience-dependent changes in mate choice preferences may confer an evolutionary benefit by shifting preferences towards traits that are advantageous for specific environments. Previous studies have demonstrated that prolonged exposure to one type of face biases perceptions of subsequently viewed faces and exposure to one type of body biases perceptions of subsequently viewed bodies. We tested whether preferences in facial adiposity were affected by viewing heavy or light bodies. We first assessed facial adiposity preferences by asking Caucasian participants (n = 59) to transform three-dimensional female Caucasian faces along a body mass index (BMI) continuum until they reached optimal attractiveness. Participants then viewed heavy- or light-bodied two-dimensional images with the faces cropped out before repeating the face preference task. Male and female participants who viewed heavy bodies shifted preferences toward significantly higher facial adiposity, while those who viewed the light bodies showed no significant overall shift. These results provide evidence that adaptation to certain body types affects subsequent preferences for facial adiposity, and suggest that adaptation to one body domain may affect preferences in other body domains.