Whether curvy, muscular or ‘dad bod’, everyone has a type. However, the current state of the world determines who you are attracted to.
Researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands found that women are more attracted to tough-looking men like Chris Hemsworth and Jason Momoa during periods of uncertainty.
So if you look like Jason Momoa, uncertainty might not be so bad for you (although nothing can be bad if you look like Momoa)
This appearance is defined by features such as a sharper nose and chin, more prominent jawbone and more prominent cheekbones.
On the other hand, under the same conditions, men tend to be more attracted to women with softer facial features, such as Selena Gomez, who has a ‘soft’ face with rounder lips, cheeks and nose tip.
Experts hypothesize that this is due to a ‘growing desire for a stereotypical type of partner reflected by such facial features’.
For men, this is a woman they see as caring, while for women it is a man they see as strong.
“These results suggest that partner preferences are not fixed, but are influenced by external factors and transient psychological states, such as feelings of uncertainty due to unpredictable events,” the authors conclude.
We seek order and structure in times of uncertainty
For many of us, the past few years have been chaotic to say the least, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of living crisis and ever-changing political events. These external factors can affect our health in myriad ways, including insomnia, brain fatigue and depression.
Research shows that in times of uncertainty, people seek order and structure, sometimes increasing their faith and support for religion, government or conspiracy theories.
The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, assessed whether periods of uncertainty affect the type of partner people prefer.
Students were recruited from the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) job distribution website to participate in three studies.
For the first study, 173 MTurk employees were asked to write a story of up to 100 words about a situation in which they felt certain or uncertain, reflecting how they felt at that moment. In this context, certain times include financial stability and job security, while uncertain times include financial crisis or changes in the political climate.
Participants were then presented with four different male or female faces that had been digitally altered to appear harder or softer. They were asked to rate the faces on attractiveness, likeability and how likely they would be to want to date them.
In the second study, 174 students again wrote a story about an uncertain or specific period in their lives. They then imagined they were looking for a lover and indicated how attracted they would be to a caring or strong partner.
Analyzing the results of two studies, the researchers found that women found tougher male faces and stronger partners more attractive after reflecting on periods of uncertainty than during times of certainty. Men, on the other hand, rated rounded faces more highly and sought a more ‘affectionate’ partner under uncertain conditions than under certainty.
For the third study, 141 students were asked to think of either a caring partner who ‘made them feel comfortable and relaxed’ or a strong partner who ‘provided protection and could be relied on when needed’. They were then told to imagine they would like to date someone who fit this brief and were asked to rate the faces from the first study according to their attractiveness.
The results showed that people perceived soft facial features as affectionate and harder facial features as strong when presented by the opposite sex.
The researchers wrote: “When faced with uncertainty, we find that women are more attracted to men with harder and softer facial features, and men are more attracted to women with softer and rounder facial features.
“These findings have important implications for our understanding of how and why partner preferences are affected by uncertainty.
Source: Daily Mail, summarized by fikrikadim editors