Menstrual cycle phase affects discrimination of infant cuteness

Lobmaier, Janek S.; Probst, Fabian; Perrett, David I.; Heinrichs, Markus (2015). Menstrual cycle phase affects discrimination of infant cuteness. Hormones and behavior, 70, pp. 1-6. Elsevier 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.02.001

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Recent studies have shown that women are more sensitive than men to subtle cuteness differences in infant faces. It has been suggested that raised levels in estradiol and progesterone may be responsible for this advantage. We compared young women's sensitivity to computer-manipulated baby faces varying in cuteness. Thirty-six women were tested once during ovulation and once during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. In a two alternative forced-choice experiment, participants chose the baby which they thought was cuter (Task 1), younger (Task 2), or the baby that they would prefer to babysit (Task 3). Saliva samples to assess levels of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone were collected at each test session. During ovulation, women were more likely to choose the cuter baby than during the luteal phase, in all three tasks. These results suggest that cuteness discrimination may be driven by cyclic hormonal shifts. However none of the measured hormones were related to increased cuteness sensitivity. We speculate that other hormones than the ones measured here might be responsible for the increased sensitivity to subtle cuteness differences during ovulation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology > Biologische Psychologie (SNF)

UniBE Contributor:

Lobmaier, Janek and Probst, Fabian

ISSN:

0018-506X

Publisher:

Elsevier

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Janek Lobmaier

Date Deposited:

04 Mar 2015 16:46

Last Modified:

21 Jul 2017 10:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.02.001

PubMed ID:

25683277

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Infant cuteness discrimination, Gonadal steroids, Kindchenschema, Menstrual cycle, Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, Infant–parent bonding

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.64020

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/64020

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