Then the participants were shown a second group of 12 photos that contained pictures of men with an assortment of bearded or unbearded faces. Each group viewed the exact same 12 photos in this round.
The volunteers, who had seen the clean-shaven faces first, found full beards and heavy stubble more attractive than light stubble. Those who had seen beards in their first group then favored clean-shaven faces.
The outcome of this study showed that people favored an appearance that was more rare. Beards are perceived as more attractive if not many men have them. Clean-shaven is perceived as more attractive if not many men are completely shaving their faces.
“This study breaks new ground,” said Peter Frost, an anthropologist at the Interuniversity Centre for Aboriginal Studies and Research in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Although previous studies have shown that people prefer novelty for certain traits, such as the color of clothing, this study shows “that the novelty effect applies not only to colors but also to other visible features [of the body]”.
Scientists warn we've hit 'peak beard': The more people grow facial hair, the less attractive it is. The Independent.co.uk. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
To beard or not to beard. The Royal Society. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
Are Beards About to Die Out? The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
Beards: Too Hip For Their Own Good. IFLscience.com. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
Zinnia J. Janif et al. Negative frequency-dependent preferences and variation in male facial hair. Published 16 April 2014 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0958. Biol. Lett. April 2014 vol. 10 no. 4 20130958.
Michele is an R.N.