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Appearance enhancement: A cue-based approach

Lewis, D.M.G. and Buss, D.M. (2021) Appearance enhancement: A cue-based approach. Archives of Sexual Behavior .

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Davis and Arnocky (2020) offer an impressive review that pulls together a large body of disparate studies and draws valuable attention to physical appearance enhancement behavior. Through numerous examples, they illustrate that an evolutionary framework is not incompatible with sociocultural influences (Buss, 1995; Lewis, Al-Shawaf et al., 2017; Tooby & Cosmides, 1990; see also Al-Shawaf et al., 2019, 2020; Confer et al., 2010; Lewis & Lewis, 2017; Lewis, 2015; Lewis, Al-Shawaf, & Buss, 2020; Lewis, Al-Shawaf, et al., 2020; Lewis et al., 2018; Lukaszewski et al., 2020; Nesse, 2019; Tinbergen, 1963). This central aspiration of the Target Article—to integrate proximate and ultimate explanations for appearance enhancement behavior—will be invaluable for progress in this important domain of research.

We think that this integration will be best achieved through an approach that focuses on specific visual cues, in particular those ancestrally predictive of important fitness outcomes. Here, we present this cue-based approach, which we hope usefully supplements the Target Article through the wealth of new predictions that it generates about the psychology and behavior of appearance enhancement.

The foundations of this approach will be: (1) to explicitly recognize that appearance enhancement behavior is the manipulation of visual cues that conspecifics’ attractiveness-assessment mechanisms attend to, and (2) to map the design features of these attractiveness-assessment mechanisms, including the specific cues to which they attend, and the distinct contexts in which they place value on those cues.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Health Futures Institute
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
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