Female competition special. Dec 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013 Rob 2 Comments

Fight fight fight! It’s a female competition special! We all know men duke it out in the name of love, honour and occasionally plain boredom, but do women also seek to outcompete members of their own sex? And is this question so controversial we shouldn’t even be asking it?


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The articles covered in the show:

Durante, K. M., Griskevicius, V., Cantú, S. M., & Simpson, J. A. (in press). Money, status, and the ovulatory cycle. Journal of Marketing Research. Read summary

Fink, B. (2014). Female physical characteristics and intra-sexual competition in women. Personality and Individual Differences, 58, 138-141. Read summary

Muñoz-Reyes, J. A., Pita, M., Arjona, M., Sanchez-Pages, S., & Turiegano, E. (in press). Who is the fairest of them all? The independent effect of attractive features and self-perceived attractiveness on cooperation among women. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Piccoli, V., Foroni, F., & Carnaghi, A. (2013). Comparing group dehumanization and intra-sexual competition among normally ovulating women and hormonal contraceptive users. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(12), 1600-1609. Read summary

Vaillancourt, T. (2013). Do human females use indirect aggression as an intrasexual competition strategy? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B, 368, 20130080. Read summary

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Dog owners are more attractive. Nov 2013

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

This month, we take a leisurely perambulation through the science of attraction, and discover how our relationship status can affect how we walk. We also investigate how pet ownership influences attractiveness, and tackle a controversial question: do women act easy as a tactic to snare men?


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New research shows that dog owners are more attractive, especially for long term relationships. Thanks a lot, Bradley Cooper. How about you give the rest of us a chance, eh?

The articles covered in the show:

Tifferet, S., Kruger, D. J., Bar-Lev, O., & Zeller, S. (2013). Dog ownership increases attractiveness and attenuates perceptions of short-term mating strategy in cad-like men. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 11(3), 121-139. Read summary

Goetz, C. D., Easton, J. A., & Buss, D. M. (in press). Women’s perceptions of sexual exploitability cues and their link to sexual attractiveness. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Wagnild, J., & Wall-Scheffler, C. M. (2013). Energetic consequences of human sociality: Walking speed choices among friendly dyads. PLoS One, 8(10), e76576. Read paper

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Menstrual cycle special. Oct 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013 Rob 4 Comments

This month, it’s a menstrual cycle special. We find out how changes in your hormone levels can influence your attitudes to kissing and dancing, make you flirt more, and even affect the psychology of your partner.

I've covered cyclic effects on mating psychology many, many times before on the podcast. If you want to hear more, click on the label for "human oestrus".


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Yep, it's that time of the month again. Time for another Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast, that is! Ho ho ho.

The articles covered in the show:

Cappelle, T., & Fink, B. (2013). Changes in women’s attractiveness perception of masculine men’s dances across the ovulatory cycle: Preliminary data. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(5), 965-972. Read paper

Cantú, S. M., Simpson, J. A., Griskevicius, V., Weisberg, Y. J., Durante, K. M., & Beal, D. J. (in press). Fertile and selectively flirty: Women’s behavior toward men changes across the ovulatory cycle. Psychological Science. Read paper [pdf]

Wlodarski, R., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (in press). Menstrual cycle effects on attitudes to kissing. Human Nature. Read summary

Cobey, K. D., Buunk, A. P., Pollet, T. V., Klipping, C., & Roberts, S. C. (in press). Men perceive their female partners, and themselves, as more attractive around ovulation. Biological Psychology. Read summary

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Baby-making special. Sept 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

This month, it’s a baby-making special. We take a closer look at the psychology of family planning, from the link between personality and fertility, to the motivational value of baby photographs, and even condom sabotage!


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The articles covered in the show:

Skirbekk, V., & Blekesaune, M. (in press). Personality traits increasingly important for male fertility: Evidence from Norway. European Journal of Personality. Read summary

Davis, K. C., Schraufnagel, T. J., Kajumulo, K. F., Gilmore, A. K., Norris, J., & George, W. H. (in press). A qualitative examination of men's condom use attitudes and resistance: "It's just part of the game". Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Charles, N. E., Alexander, G. M., & Saenz, J. (2013). Motivational value and salience of images of infants. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(5), 373-381. Read summary

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Sexual selection in humans, with Alex Hill. Aug 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 Rob 5 Comments

I speak to Alex Hill, an anthropology postgrad at Penn State, who gives me the lowdown on his recent study of sexual selection in humans.


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Are all those muscles going to be more handy for attracting women, or beating up other men? How has sexual selection acted on male physicality? I talk to Alex Hill to find out.

The articles covered in the show:

Hill, A. K., Hunt, J., Welling, L. L. M., Cárdenas, R. A., Rotella, M. A., Wheatley, J. R., et al. (in press). Quantifying the strength and form of sexual selection on men's traits. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

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Smiling and beauty. July 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013 Rob 2 Comments

Why we prefer our partners to be more like us, and why we want to be more like our rivals. Also, new research on emotional expression and beauty that gives us all something to smile about.


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New research shows that smiling makes you more attractive than a grumpy beauty. So turn that frown upside down!

The articles covered in the show:

Laeng, B., Vermeer, O., & Sulutvedt, U. (2013). Is beauty in the face of the beholder? PLoS One, 8(7), e68395. Read summary

Slotter, E. B., Lucas, G. M., Jakubiak, B., & Lasslett, H. (in press). Changing me to keep you: State jealousy promotes perceiving similarity between the self and a romantic rival. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summary

Golle, J., Mast, F. W., & Lobmaier, J. S. (in press). Something to smile about: The interrelationship between attractiveness and emotional expression. Cognition & Emotion. Read summary

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Musicians are more alluring than firemen. June 2013

Thursday, July 04, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

This month we find out what a woman wants in a man can tell us about the type of relationship she desires, and why seeing red puts men in the mood for love. Also, finding it difficult to convince women to give you their phone number? We discover a simple method of doubling your success rate: buy a guitar!


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Would you give your phone number to this man? Nicolas Gueguen has found that women are more likely to give their digits to a fireman or to a man with a guitar.

The articles covered in the show:

Goetz, C. D. (2013). What do women’s advertised mate preferences reveal? An analysis of video dating profiles. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(2), 383-391. Read paper

Prokop, P., & Hromada, M. (in press). Women use red in order to attract mates. Ethology. Read summary

Guéguen, N., Meineri, S., & Fischer-Lokou, J. (in press). Men’s music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context. Psychology of Music. Read summary

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Oral sex, with Michael Pham. May 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013 Rob 2 Comments

What is the point of oral sex? I talk to Michael Pham of Oakland University to find out. Also, do tattoos make women more or less attractive? Quick answer: it depends.


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Michael Douglas revealed today that he thinks his throat cancer might have been caused by cunnilingus. If he's right, that's one downside of oral sex. But are there other costs to weigh against the (obvious) benefits of oral sex? I speak to Michael Pham, who researches the link between oral sex and jealousy-motivated mate retention behaviours.

The articles covered in the show:

Pham, M. N., & Shackelford, T. K. (2013). Oral sex as mate retention behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(2), 185-188. Read summary

Pham, M. N., Shackelford, T. K., Sela, Y., & Welling, L. L. M. (2013). Is cunnilingus-assisted orgasm a male sperm-retention strategy? Evolutionary Psychology, 11(2), 405-414. Read paper

Guéguen, N. (in press). Effects of a tattoo on men’s behavior and attitudes towards women: An experimental field study. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

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Special: Barnaby Dixson on beards, extended interview. April 2013

Thursday, May 09, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

Episode 50! An extended interview with Barnaby Dixson of the University of New South Wales. We discuss research on facial hair and attractiveness, both Barnaby's own work and the wider research area. We cover the evolution of facial hair, the history of facial hair research, detail some of the ways Barnaby works to control confounding variables in his experiments, and find out whether researching facial hair has made Barnaby more or less likely to cultivate his very own chin warmer.


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Ryan Gosling, you bastard. One man who looks great whether clean shaven, stubbled, or heavily bearded. The rest of us look at our best when we're clean shaven. Or is that heavily bearded? Or stubbled? Barnaby Dixson clears it up in this special episode.

The articles covered in the show:

Dixson, B. J., & Brooks, R. C. (in press). The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Dixson, B. J., & Vasey, P. L. (2012). Beards augment perceptions of men's age, social status, and aggressiveness, but not attractiveness. Behavioral Ecology, 23(3), 481-490. Read summary

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Gaydar, with Konstantin Tskhay, and Barnaby Dixson on beards. April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

This month, is gaydar real? Can we tell whether a person is gay or straight, or even whether they adopt particular sexual roles, purely from their facial appearance? I talk to Konstantin Tskhay to find out. I also talk to Barnaby Dixson and discover what type of facial hair is the most attractive, and whether men with bushier beards make better fathers.


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In HBO's new Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, Matt Damon short circuits even the least sensitive gaydar. But does gaydar really exist? Maybe. New research by Konstantin Tskhay suggests that, not only can we tell if a person is straight or gay, we can even accurately guess their preferred sexual role.

The articles covered in the show:

Bogaert, A. F., & Liu, J. (in press). Physical size and sexual orientation: Analysis of the Chinese Health and Family Life Survey. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Dixson, B. J., & Brooks, R. C. (in press). The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Moskowitz, D. A., Turrubiates, J., Lozano, H., & Hajek, C. (in press). Physical, behavioral, and psychological traits of gay men identifying as bears. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Tskhay, K. O., & Rule, N. O. (in press). Accurate identification of a preference for insertive versus receptive intercourse from static facial cues of gay men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

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Babies' face preferences, with Michelle Heron-Delaney. March 2013

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

The weird science of attraction. We hear about the work of three research teams who dared to pose curious questions, tested their hypotheses on peculiar populations, and discovered that unusual investigations can yield back to front results. Also, I interview Michelle Heron-Delaney of The University of Queensland about her recent work on whether babies can tell an attractive from an unattractive adult.


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How attractive is this man? Does that sound like a weird question? Well, Keiichi Yonemura asked it of the participants in one of his experiments, the results of which I discuss in this month's podcast.

The articles covered in the show:

Michniewicz, K. S., & Vandello, J. A. (in press). The attractive underdog: When disadvantage bolsters attractiveness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Read summary

Heron-Delaney, M., Quinn, P. C., Lee, K., Slater, A. M., & Pascalis, O. (2013). Nine-month-old infants prefer unattractive bodies over attractive bodies. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115(1), 30-41. Read summary

Yonemura, K., Ono, F., & Watanabe, K. (2013). Back view of beauty: a bias in attractiveness judgment. Perception, 42(1), 95-102. Read summary

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Face shape changes over the menstrual cycle. Feb 2013

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

Why cheaters often claim “it didn’t mean anything”, and why perceptions of what constitutes cheating vary from person to person. Also, changing faces: how women’s faces change shape over the menstrual cycle.


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Do women's faces change shape over the cycle? Sophie Dituri/Flickr

The articles covered in the show:

Foster, J. D., & Misra, T. A. (in press). It did not mean anything (about me): Cognitive dissonance theory and the cognitive and affective consequences of romantic infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Read summary

Kruger, D. J., Fisher, M. L. E., R. S., Chopik, W. J., Fitzgerald, C. J., & Stout, S. L. (2013). Was that cheating? Perceptions vary by sex, attachment anxiety, and behavior. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(1), 159-171. Read summary

Oberzaucher, E., Katina, S., Schmehl, S. F., Holzleitner, I. J., & Grammer, K. (2012). The myth of hidden ovulation: Shape and texture changes in the face during the menstrual cycle. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 10(4), 163-175. Read summary

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Robert Burriss on the psychology of attraction. Valentines 2013 special

Thursday, February 14, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

What better day to discuss attraction than Valentines? Here's a special episode with an interview I gave a couple of weeks ago. The conversation ranges from the influence of the media on what we perceive as attractive, to attractiveness and race, the appealing odour of male sweat, and why Brad Pitt is the perfect man.


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Is Brad your ideal Valentine? Yes. Yes, he is.

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Women wear pink when ovulating. Jan 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

Why a red t-shirt is the same as a red bum, how a poor sense of smell affects your love life, and going "Facebook official": how the social network generation navigate the relationship minefield.


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It must be that time of the month for Kristen Stewart: new research shows that three quarters of women wearing pink or red are currently ovulating, making a pink dress almost as good an indicator of fertility as a chimpanzee's pink bum.

The articles covered in the show:

Beall, A. T., & Tracy, J. L. (in press). Women more likely to wear red or pink at peak fertility. Psychological Science. Read paper [pdf]

Croy, I., Bojanowskia, V., & Hummela, T. (2013). Men without a sense of smell exhibit a strongly reduced number of sexual relationships, women exhibit reduced partnership security – A reanalysis of previously published data. Biological Psychology, 92(2), 292-924. Read summary

Fox, J., Warber, K. M., & Makstaller, D. C. (in press). The role of Facebook in romantic relationship development: An exploration of Knapp’s relational stage model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Read summary

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Is a GSOH attractive? Dec 2012

Saturday, January 05, 2013 Rob 0 Comments

This month, why a good sense of humour is sometimes attractive and sometimes not so much, how fruit consumption affects appearance, and why high heels elevate attractiveness.


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Stephen Merchant's stand up act is based on his apparent inability to win over women. But new research by Mary Cowan suggests that people's ideas about what constitutes a GSOH are more flexible than we previously thought. So keep plugging away, Smerch!

The articles covered in the show:

Cowan, M. L., & Little, A. C. (2013). The effects of relationship context and modality on ratings of funniness. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(4), 496-500. Read summary

Morris, P. H., White, J., Morrison, E. R., & Fisher, K. (in press). High heels as supernormal stimuli: How wearing high heels affects judgements of female attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Whitehead, R. D., Ozakinci, G., & Perrett, D. I. (2012). Attractive skin coloration: Harnessing sexual selection to improve diet and health. Evolutionary Psychology, 10(5), 842-854. Read summary

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