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Dress for success: even unseen clothing increases female facial attractiveness

Journal article
Authors Mare Lõhmus
L. Fredrik Sundström
Mats Björklund
Published in Annales Zoologici Fennici
Volume 46
Pages 75-80
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Zoology
Pages 75-80
Language en
Subject categories Microbiology, Communication Studies


Human facial expressions are important signals of emotions. In order to test how emotions affect individual neutral facial expressions and the reliability of humans to read these expressions, we photographed faces of 25 women wearing clothes in which they felt attractive, unattractive, or comfortable while expressing an emotionally neutral face. Men found the faces of women in attractive clothes the most attractive, whereas the faces of women in comfortable and unattractive clothes were ranked as intermediate and least attractive, respectively, even though the clothes were not visible in the photographs. Our results demonstrate that despite very subtle effects, the emotional state of women is perceived by men and that the two sexes are concordant on the signal sent and received. We show a close connection between exterior attributes, confidence, and how a person is perceived by others.

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