Beards and the big city: displays of masculinity may be amplified under crowded conditions

Dixson, Barnaby J. W., Rantala, Markus J., Melo, Eduardo Ferreira and Brooks, Robert C. (2017) Beards and the big city: displays of masculinity may be amplified under crowded conditions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 38 2: 259-264. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.10.009

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Author Dixson, Barnaby J. W.
Rantala, Markus J.
Melo, Eduardo Ferreira
Brooks, Robert C.
Title Beards and the big city: displays of masculinity may be amplified under crowded conditions
Journal name Evolution and Human Behavior   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1090-5138
Publication date 2017-03-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.10.009
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 38
Issue 2
Start page 259
End page 264
Total pages 6
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract Facial hair is a prominent secondary sexual trait, particularly given the importance of the face in interpersonal communication. Bizarrely by animal standards, men expend considerable effort every day trimming, waxing or shaving this androgen-dependent trait. Why some men shave this cue of masculinity off, and why women's preferences for facial hair vary so dramatically, remains largely unresolved. Using a large cross-cultural sample, we explore city- and nation-level variation in preferences for beards and in facial hair grooming patterns to test how economic and demographic conditions alter frequency-dependence in preferences for beardedness. We found that women's preferences for beards were strongest in countries with lower average incomes. Beards were most common in cities with larger populations, in countries where women express stronger preferences for facial hair and life expectancy was higher. Frequencies of non-beard facial hair styles (e.g. mustaches, goatees) were most common in large cities, but were unrelated to any demographic factors. Our results suggest a role for female choice in shaping large-scale patterns of facial hair grooming and highlight that under crowded conditions with high anonymity, displays of masculinity may be amplified.
Keyword Cross-cultural variation
Human evolution
Sexual selection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Psychology Publications
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