Facial fluctuating asymmetry is not associated with childhood ill-health in a large British cohort study.


Pound, N; Lawson, DW; Toma, AM; Richmond, S; Zhurov, AI; Penton-Voak, IS; (2014) Facial fluctuating asymmetry is not associated with childhood ill-health in a large British cohort study. Proceedings Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 281 (1792). ISSN 0962-8452 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1639

[img]
Preview
Text - Published Version
License:

Download (421kB) | Preview

Abstract

The idea that symmetry in facial traits is associated with attractiveness because it reliably indicates good physiological health, particularly to potential sexual partners, has generated an extensive literature on the evolution of human mate choice. However, large-scale tests of this hypothesis using direct or longitudinal assessments of physiological health are lacking. Here, we investigate relationships between facial fluctuating asymmetry (FA) and detailed individual health histories in a sample (n = 4732) derived from a large longitudinal study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) in South West England. Facial FA was assessed using geometric morphometric analysis of facial landmark configurations derived from three-dimensional facial scans taken at 15 years of age. Facial FA was not associated with longitudinal measures of childhood health. However, there was a very small negative association between facial FA and IQ that remained significant after correcting for a positive allometric relationship between FA and face size. Overall, this study does not support the idea that facial symmetry acts as a reliable cue to physiological health. Consequently, if preferences for facial symmetry do represent an evolved adaptation, then they probably function not to provide marginal fitness benefits by choosing between relatively healthy individuals on the basis of small differences in FA, but rather evolved to motivate avoidance of markers of substantial developmental disturbance and significant pathology.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Population Studies (1974-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
PubMed ID: 25122232
Web of Science ID: 341095900024
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1883914

Statistics


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
200Downloads
251Hits
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months
Impact and interest
Additional statistics for this record are available via IRStats2

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item