Automatic attention towards face or body as a function of mating motivation.

Huijing Lu, Lei Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Because women's faces and bodies carry different cues of reproductive value, men may attend to different perceptual cues as functions of their long-term versus short-term mating motivations. We tested this hypothesis in three experiments on 135 male and 132 female participants. When influenced by short-term rather than long-term mating motivations, men's attention was captured by (Study 1), was shifted to (Study 2), and was distracted by (Study 3) the waist/hip area rather than the face on photographs of attractive women. Similar effects were not found among the female participants in response to photographs of attractive men. These results support the evolutionary view that, similar to the attentional selectivity found in other domains of life, male perceptual attention has evolved to selectively capture and hold reproductive information about the opposite sex as a function of short-term versus long-term mating goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-135
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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