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  Changes in women's facial skin color over the ovulatory cycle are not detectable by the human visual system

Burriss, R. P., Troscianko, J., Lovell, P. G., Fulford, A. J. C., Stevens, M., Quigley, R., et al. (2015). Changes in women's facial skin color over the ovulatory cycle are not detectable by the human visual system. PLoS One, 10(7): e0130093. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130093.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130093 (Publisher version)
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 Creators:
Burriss, R. P., Author
Troscianko, J., Author
Lovell, P. G., Author
Fulford, A. J. C., Author
Stevens, M., Author
Quigley, R., Author
Payne, J., Author
Saxton, T. K., Author
Rowland, Hannah M.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1External Organizations, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Human ovulation is not advertised, as it is in several primate species, by conspicuous sexual swellings. However, there is increasing evidence that the attractiveness of women's body odor, voice, and facial appearance peak during the fertile phase of their ovulatory cycle. Cycle effects on facial attractiveness may be underpinned by changes in facial skin color, but it is not clear if skin color varies cyclically in humans or if any changes are detectable. To test these questions we photographed women daily for at least one cycle. Changes in facial skin redness and luminance were then quantified by mapping the digital images to human long, medium, and shortwave visual receptors. We find cyclic variation in skin redness, but not luminance. Redness decreases rapidly after menstrual onset, increases in the days before ovulation, and remains high through the luteal phase. However, we also show that this variation is unlikely to be detectable by the human visual system. We conclude that changes in skin color are not responsible for the effects of the ovulatory cycle on women's attractiveness.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2015-07-182015
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: Other: EXT513
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130093
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Title: PLoS One
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: San Francisco, CA : Public Library of Science
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 10 (7) Sequence Number: e0130093 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1932-6203
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000277850