This month, we investigate faking orgasm. Who fakes orgasms, and why? We also find out how men and women weigh up the relative importance of facial and bodily attractiveness in a partner.

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Faking Orgasm: Who Fakes and Why?
Face or Body: Which Traits Attract a Partner for Committed or Brief Relationships?

Look like they're having fun. But are they just faking it? Flickr/Jessica Wüst

The articles covered in the show:

Jonason, P. K. (2019). Reasons to pretend to orgasm and the mating psychology of those who endorse them. Personality and Individual Differences, 143, 90-94. Read summary

Zaidi, A. A., White, J. D., Mattern, B. C., Liebowitz, C. R., Puts, D. A., Claes, P., et al. (in press). Facial masculinity does not appear to be a condition-dependent male ornament and does not reflect MHC heterozygosity in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read summary

In this month's episode we look at how men and women's partner preferences are affected by a dose of oxytocin, aka "the love hormone". We'll also find out whether germophobes are more or less likely to pursue short-term relationships.

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Disgust and Short-Term Relationships
Oxytocin and Mate-Choice

How does oxytocin affect men and women's partner preferences? Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Al-Shawaf, L., Lewis, D. M. G., Ghossainy, M. E., & Buss, D. M. (in press). Experimentally inducing disgust reduces desire for short-term mating. Evolutionary Psychological Science. Read summary

Xu, L., Becker, B., Luo, R., Zheng, X., Zhao, W., Zhang, Q., et al. (2018). Oxytocin amplifies sex differences in human mate choice. BioRxiv. Read preprint

I'm back after a holiday break to look at the psychology of appearance enhancement: what does our use of cosmetics say about us to other people? This episode also features an interview with Matthew Vazquez of California State University San Bernardino, who presented his research exploring the complexities of mate attraction at the 2018 HBES conference.

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What do People Think of Women Who Use Cosmetics and Cosmetic Surgery?

Does the use of make up, and other efforts at appearance enhancement, affect how we are seen by others? Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Bradshaw, H. K., Profitt Leyva, R., Nicolas, S. C. A., & Hill, S. E. (2019). Costly female appearance-enhancement provides cues of short-term mating effort: The case of cosmetic surgery. Personality and Individual Differences, 138, 48-55. Read summary

DelPriore, D. J., Bradshaw, H. K., & Hill, S. E. (2018). Appearance enhancement produces a strategic beautification penalty among women. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12(4), 348-366. Read summary

Vazquez, M., Cisneros, A., & Goetz, C. (2018). Mate value discrepancies and relationship satisfaction in heterosexual and non-heterosexual romantic relationships. Poster presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Annual Conference.

Why are we attracted to attractive people? Perhaps because evolution has shaped us to seek healthy and fertile partners. But is beauty really linked to biological fitness? We find out. This episode also features an interview with Kai Hiraishi of Keio University, who presented his research on men's over-perception of women's sexual intent at this summer's HBES conference.

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Does an Hourglass Figure Really Signal Fertility?
Does Beauty Signal Health?

Are attractive people healthier and more fertile? Previous assumptions are being overturned. Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Cai, Z., Hahn, A. C., Zhang, W., Holzleitner, I. J., Lee, A. J., DeBruine, L. M., et al. (in press). No evidence that facial attractiveness, femininity, averageness, or coloration are cues to susceptibility to infectious illnesses in a university sample of young adult women. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Hiraishi, K., Kawahata, Y., Nomura, K., & Shigematsu, H. (2018). Women's perception of men's overperception of women's sexual-intent and what she says she really wants. Poster presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Annual Conference.

Lassek, W. B., & Gaulin, S. J. C. (in press). Do the low WHRs and SMIs judged most attractive indicate higher fertility? Evolutionary Psychology. Read summary

This month, is pursuing sex with an ex likely to help or hinder your recovery from a breakup? And we find out why a team of psychologists from Michigan brought volunteers to their lab to look at a rabbit and a snake. This episode also features an interview with Vicky Leigh of Glasgow University, who presented her research on sexual imprinting at the recent HBES conference.

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Sex with an Ex: Good or Bad for Breakup Recovery?
The Snake and the Rabbit: Animal Influences on Human Mate Choice


Would looking at this rabbit (or a snake) affect what you find attractive in a partner? freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Leigh, V., Jones, B., & DeBruine, L. (2018). Bisexual women show positive sexual imprinting on the partner-sex parent for eye colour. Poster presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Annual Conference.

Reeve, S. D., Mogilski, J. K., & Welling, L. L. M. (in press). Environmental safety threat alters mate choice processes in humans: further evidence for the Environmental Security Hypothesis. Evolutionary Psychological Science. Read summary

Spielmann, S. S., Joel, S., & Impett, E. A. (in press). Pursuing sex with an ex: does it hinder breakup recovery? Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

This month we sniff out the link between sex and a sense of smell, and we'll ask: how much should a engagement ring really cost?

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How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring?
Sex Smells

If you need to get this close to sniff out a partner, you should get your nose tested. Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Bendas, J., Hummel, T., & Croy, I. (in press). Olfactory function relates to sexual experience in adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Cloud, J. M., & Taylor, M. H. (in press). The effect of mate value discrepancy on hypothetical engagement ring purchases. Evolutionary Psychological Science. Read summary

In this month's episode we look at sexuality: why do people who identify as straight sometimes hookup with partners of the same gender? We'll also find out if straight men prefer women who are attracted to other women. This episode also features an interview with Sydni Huxman of Kansas State University, who presented her research on backup partners at the recent HBES conference.

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Straight Man Seeks… Who?

Can men and women identify as straight but still hookup with same-gender partners? Joanna Malinowska/Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Apostelou, M., Wang, Y., & O, J. (2018). Do men prefer women who are attracted to women? A cross-cultural evolutionary investigation. Personality and Individual Differences, 135, 31-39. Read summary

Huxman, S. A. J., Brandner, J. L., & Brase, G. L. (2018). Friends with potential benefits: Exploring the relationships between individual differences and backup mates. Poster presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Annual Conference.

Kuperberg, A., & Walker, A. (2018). Heterosexual college students who hookup with same-sex partners. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(5), 1387-1403. Read summary

This month I tell some dirty and clean jokes: whether or not you laugh may say something about the kind of relationship that suits you best. We'll also find out why some of us are uneasy with relationships between people with a big age difference. And, in the first of my interviews from the recent Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference in Amsterdam, I speak with Dr. Anthony Lee of Glasgow University about his research on internet dating.

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Why do People Condemn Age-Discrepant Relationships?
Is a Dirty Joke a Good Chat Up Line?

His joke may have been filthier than a sack of compost, but it sure was funny. Brian Wolfe/Flickr

The articles covered in the show:

Lee, A. (2018). Investigating mate preferences through a data-driven analysis of online personal descriptions. Paper presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Annual Conference.

Medlin, M. M., Brown, M., & Sacco, D. F. (2018). That's what she said! Perceived mate value of clean and dirty humor displays. Personality and Individual Differences, 135, 192-200. Read summary

Sela, Y., Pham, M. N., Mogilski, J. K., Lopes, G. S., Shackelford, T. K., & Zeigler-Hill, V. (2018). Why do people disparage May–December romances? Condemnation of age-discrepant romantic relationships as strategic moralization. Personality and Individual Differences, 130, 6-10. Read summary

In this month's episode we look at dating apps, and how the way we interact with them is influenced by our sociosexuality (aka our willingness to engage in casual sex).

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Dating Apps and Mating Strategies

Does our 'sociosexuality' affect how we behave on dating apps, like Tinder? Freestocks.

The articles covered in the show:

Botnen, E. O., Bendixen, M., Grøntvedt, T. V., & Kennair, L. E. O. (2018). Individual differences in sociosexuality predict picture-based mobile dating app use. Personality and Individual Differences, 131, 67-73. Read summary

Hallam, L., De Backer, C. J. S., Fisher, M. L., & Walrave, M. (in press). Are sex differences in mating strategies overrated? Sociosexual orientation as a dominant predictor in online dating strategies. Evolutionary Psychological Science. Read summary


It can't have failed to escape you that psychology is in the midst of a replication crisis. Research findings previously thought to be solid and reliable have proven anything but, as teams of independent researchers have tried -- and failed -- to repeat the original experiments.

On The Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast I might be guilty of focussing too much on the most exciting new findings: findings that may or may not be supported by later research. So in this episode we'll look at a few replication studies that have recently called into question effects that we've talked about before on the show. Are women's partner preferences influenced by their menstrual cycle or hormonal contraceptives? We'll find out.

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The Replication Crisis: New Research on Human Attraction

"Hi, did you hear? The results of your PhD thesis have been overturned OK byeee!" Freestocks.org

The articles covered in the show:

Jern, P., Kärnä, A., Hujanen, J., Erlin, T., Gunst, A., Rautaheimo, H., et al. (in press). A high-powered replication study finds no effect of starting or stopping hormonal contraceptive use on relationship quality. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Jones, B. C., Hahn, A. C., Fisher, A. D., Wang, H., Kandrik, M., Han, C., et al. (2017). No compelling evidence that preferences for facial masculinity track changes in women's hormonal status. bioRxiv. Read paper

Jünger, J., Kordsmeyer, T. L., Gerlach, T. M., & Penke, L. (2018). Fertile women evaluate male bodies as more attractive, regardless of masculinity. PsyArXiv. Read paper

Jünger, J., Motta-Mena, N. V., Cárdenas, R. A., Bailey, D. H., Rosenfeld, K., Schild, C., et al. (2018). Do women's preferences for masculine voices shift across the ovulatory cycle? PsyArXiv. Read summary

Marcinkowska, U., Hahn, A. C., Little, A. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Jones, B. C. (2018). No evidence that women using oral contraceptives have weaker preferences for masculine characteristics in men’s faces. Read paper

This month, how to love the one you're with. We find out why we prefer to stick with the partner we know than ditching them for someone new. We'll also discover how controlling our wandering eyes can keep our relationships strong.

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The Danger of a Wandering Eye
Loving the One You’re With


Why do we stick with our partners, despite temptations to stray? Joanna Malinowska/Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Gunaydin, G., Selcuk, E., Yilmaz, C., & Hazen, C. (in press). I have, therefore I love: status quo preference in mate choice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summary

McNulty, J. K., Meltzer, A. L., Makhanova, A., & Maner, J. K. (in press). Attentional and evaluative biases help people maintain relationships by avoiding infidelity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Read summary

What type of person is likely to give up the ghost and leave their partners without warning? We also investigate deceptive affection: is it an effective tactic for keeping a relationship strong?

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Deceptive Affection: Expressing More Love for a Partner Than we Feel
Ghosting: Why Some End Relationships by Disappearing

Does it matter if affection is real or a deception? Joanna Malinowska/Freestocks

The articles covered in the show:

Freedman, G., Powell, D. N., Le, B., & Williams, K. D. (in press). Ghosting and destiny: Implicit theories of relationships predict beliefs about ghosting. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Read summary

Redlick, M. H., & Vangeslisti, A. L. (in press). Affection, deception, and evolution: deceptive affectionate messages as mate retention behaviors. Evolutionary Psychology. Read summary