Investigating the role of facial hair in male-male competition

Colledge, Samantha (2015). Investigating the role of facial hair in male-male competition Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Colledge, Samantha
Thesis Title Investigating the role of facial hair in male-male competition
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Brendan Zietsch
Total pages 54
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
Facial hair is a secondary sexual characteristic that men develop from puberty. Women do not have sufficient testosterone levels to grow facial hair, making it a sexually dimorphic trait. Darwin’s theory of sexual selection asserts that sexually dimorphic traits, such as facial hair, are naturally selected through one of two processes: intersexual selection or intrasexual selection. Intersexual selection refers to the process by which characteristics are preferred by the opposite sex and therefore have an evolutionary advantage. Intrasexual selection refers to competition between members of the same sex. There are inconsistent findings regarding intersexual selection as the process through which facial hair has been advantageous, so I tested the alternative hypothesis that it has evolved via intrasexual selection. I explore two different behavioural contexts that may be influenced by, or may influence beardedness. The first study looked at the association between operational sex ratio of single adults in a city on beardedness, and found that beardedness did not increase with a male-biased sex ratio. The second study presented participants with paired fighters in a mixed-martial-arts bout and asked them to select which fighter they thought won the bout. Results showed that male participants showed a marginally significant bias towards bearded fighters, whereas there was no significant effect for women. The findings for study one are inconsistent with the theoretical framework for intrasexual selection, and alternative explanations are proposed. Possibilities for future research capturing the behavioural effects of beardedness in competitive settings are also discussed.
Keyword Facial hair

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Created: Thu, 24 Mar 2016, 15:26:02 EST by Stephanie Kerr on behalf of School of Psychology