Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Male Facial Attractiveness, Dominance, and Health and the Interaction between Cortisol and Testosterone

  • Tobias L. KordsmeyerEmail author
  • Mareike Lohöfener
  • Lars Penke



The dual-hormone hypothesis suggests that associations of testosterone (T) with certain behavioral tendencies are stronger when cortisol (C) levels are low simultaneously. A range of studies provided supporting evidence for TxC interaction effects, for example on dominance and risk-taking behaviors. However, concerning perceptions of facial characteristics the evidence is mixed, with a recent study reporting a positive association between perceived facial dominance and T among men with higher C.


We sought to further examine links of observer-rated facial attractiveness, dominance and health (based on photographs of N = 165 men) with baseline T, competition-induced T reactivity, and their interaction with baseline C.


There was some evidence that baseline T and the interaction of T reactivity with baseline C positively predicted facial dominance, however these were not robust when including control variables.


Since no effects were found for perceived attractiveness and health, our results suggest that associations of perceived facial characteristics with baseline T, T reactivity and their interactions with baseline C are rather weak.


Testosterone Cortisol Faces Attractiveness Dominance Health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40750_2018_98_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology & Leibniz ScienceCampus Primate CognitionUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany

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