Prior work suggests that women’s preferences for sexually dimorphic traits, such as preferences for masculine facial and vocal characteristics, may be modulated by a multitude of factors related to reproductive potential including breastfeeding status. In the present study, we investigated women’s preferences for a highly sexually dimorphic vocal characteristic, voice pitch, across a sample of nulliparous (n = 65) and breastfeeding (n = 63) women in Manila, Philippines. We examined whether preferences for pitch were related to breastfeeding status, age, relationship status, self-rated attractiveness, or salivary steroid hormone concentrations. Both nulliparous and breastfeeding women displayed preferences for feminized, rather than masculinized, pitch. The strength of this preference was negatively associated with age and negatively associated with self-rated attractiveness, but was unrelated to breastfeeding and relationship status. Estradiol and progesterone positively interacted in predicting pitch preferences, such that estradiol tended to negatively predict preferences for masculinized pitch when progesterone was low, and to positively predict preferences when progesterone was high. Our findings reinforce the notion that reproductive potential predicts preferences for sexually dimorphic traits, and emphasize importance of assessing measures of reproductive potential when evaluating mate preferences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience