Visual cues to fertility are in the eye (movements) of the beholder

Elizabeth A. Necka, Omid Kardan, David Andrew Puts, Kelly E. Faig, Marc G. Berman, Greg J. Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Past work demonstrates that humans behave differently towards women across their menstrual cycles, even after exclusively visual exposure to women's faces. People may look at women's faces differently as a function of women's menstrual cycles. Analyses of participants' scanpaths (eye movement patterns) while they looked at women at different phases of their menstrual cycles revealed that observers exhibit more consistent scanpaths when examining women's faces when women are in a menstrual cycle phase that typically corresponds with peak fertility, whereas they exhibit more variable patterns when looking at women's faces when they are in phases that do not correspond with fertility. A multivariate classifier on participants' scanpaths predicted whether they were looking at the face of a woman in a more typically fertile- versus non-fertile-phase of her menstrual cycle with above-chance accuracy. These findings demonstrate that people look at women's faces differently as a function of women's menstrual cycles, and suggest that people are sensitive to fluctuating visual cues associated with women's menstrual cycle phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104562
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume115
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Necka, E. A., Kardan, O., Puts, D. A., Faig, K. E., Berman, M. G., & Norman, G. J. (2019). Visual cues to fertility are in the eye (movements) of the beholder. Hormones and Behavior, 115, [104562]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.104562