July 30, 2004

Females are attracted to males with large pupils

Evolution and Human Behavior
Volume 25, Issue 4 , July 2004, Pages 221-228

Pupillometry: A sexual selection approach

Selina Tombs et al.


We attempted to clarify prior reported discrepancies between males judging females and females judging males in the attraction value of pupil size. Our hypothesis was that attraction values of pupil size will be described by an interaction effect, such that males will be most attracted by large pupils in females and females by medium size pupils in males. The rationale for the hypothesis was that the reproductive strategies of males are best served by unequivocal female sexual interest and arousal, whereas the strategies of females will predispose them to favor more moderate sexual attentions. As expected, the relationship of attraction to pupil size was positive and linear for males viewing females. Females, however, rather than showing the predicted inverted U function, showed consistent preferences for either medium or large pupils in males. Further investigation revealed that females attracted by large pupils also reported preferences for proverbial bad boys as dating partners. Analogous findings in the literature on female romantic partner preferences are discussed.


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