Estrogen Level Predicts Women's Self-Perveiced Physical Attractiveness and Romantic Relationship Motivations

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Conference Paper

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High estrogen levels are a sign of a woman's reproductive health. Previous research has proposed that physical attractiveness is a cue to health and fertility in women (Thornhill & Grammer, 1999) and has found that estrogen levels are predictive of objectively–observed facial attractiveness (Law Smith et al., 2006). However, evidence of a relationship between estrogen and self–perceived body and facial attractiveness and mating motivations has yet to be established. We collected salivary samples (n=87) from normally cycling women at various points across the menstrual cycle. On the day the salivary assay was taken, participants completed self-perceived desirability scales and provided subjective reports of sexual and social motivations, and satisfaction with primary partner. It was found that estrogen level is positively associated with self–perceived attractiveness and is negatively associated with a woman's satisfaction with primary partner and may mediate her motivation to seek romance outside of her current relationship. Results provide support for the relationship between physical beauty and fertility and suggest that physiological mechanisms play a major role in guiding a woman's reproductive mating strategy.


Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology

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Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, 7-9 February 2008

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