Testing Mate Choice Hypotheses in a Transitional Small Scale Population

Tests of theories of mate choice often rely on data gathered in White, industrialised samples and this is especially the case for studies of facial attraction. Our understanding of preferences for sexual dimorphism is currently in flux and a number of hypotheses require testing in more diverse participant samples. The current study uses opportunistically gathered facial dimorphism preference data from 271 participants in rural Nicaragua, and 40 from the national capital Managua. We assess pre-registered hypotheses drawn from sexual selection theory, and from more recent approaches which consider the impacts of economic development and cultural ‘modernisation’ on mate preferences.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Lucy G. Boothroyd, Durham University, Department of Psychology

Jean-Luc Jucker, Durham University, Department of Psychology

Tracey Thornborrow, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Martin Tovee, Northumbria University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Carlota Batres, Franklin and Marshall College, Department of Psychology

Ian Penton-Voak, University of Bristol, School of Psychology Science