Digit ratio (2D:4D) predicts facial, but not voice or body odour, attractiveness in men

Abstract

There is growing evidence that human second-to-fourth digit ratio (or 2D:4D) is related to facial features involved in attractiveness, mediated by in utero hormonal effects. The present study extends the investigation to other phenotypic, hormone-related determinants of human attractiveness: voice and body odour. Pictures of faces with a neutral expression, recordings of voices pronouncing vowels and axillary odour samples captured on cotton pads worn for 24 h were provided by 49 adult male donors. These stimuli were rated on attractiveness and masculinity scales by two groups of 49 and 35 females, approximately half of these in each sample using hormonal contraception. Multivariate regression analyses showed that males’ lower (more masculine) right 2D:4D and lower right-minus-left 2D:4D (Dr-l) were associated with a more attractive (and in some cases more symmetrical), but not more masculine, face. However, 2D:4D and Dr-l did not predict voice and body odour masculinity or attractiveness. The results were interpreted in terms of differential effects of prenatal and circulating testosterone, male facial shape being supposedly more dependent on foetal levels (reflected by 2D:4D ratio), whereas body odour and vocal characteristics could be more dependent on variation in adult circulating testosterone levels.

Publication
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1724), 3551-3557