My research focuses on the study of human social interaction and cognition, especially on human mate preference and interpersonal attraction. I employ the evolutionary psychology framework, thus investigating the evolutionary causes and consequences of human behavior in social context. My studies can be categorized, broadly, into the following topics:
Human facial and body morphology
Studies on human facial and body morphology include the investigation of human face/body shape and the role of visible skin condition on perception of others. For example, I have investigated attractiveness perception of male/female faces and bodies in relation to measures of physical strength and symmetry as well as ovulatory cycle dependent female preferences of male features. More recently, I have been studying the effect of skin topography and skin colouration cues on perception of male and female facial age, health and attractiveness. I further aim to understand the contribution of hair on assessments of human physical appearance.
Human body movement and nonverbal communication
The focus of my work on human body movement is on the signalling quality of human dance. By employing 2D (video) and 3D (motion-capture) technology, I have been investigating cues people derive from male and female gait and dance movements. This includes the study of body movement perception in children and adults. Current research aims to expand insight derived from the study of Western (industrialized) societies to investigations in pre-industrialized socities, thus trying to identify cross-cultural similarities and differences in the perception of human movement.
Digit ratio and sex-dependent traits/behavior
Digit ratio (2D:4D) is supposed to be a biomarker of prenatal exposure to sex steroids and has been shown to correlate with a variety of sex-dependent physical, cognitive and behavioral measures. I have been investigating this trait, for example, in relation to facial morphology, physical strength, and personality. Recent studies consider large samples to investigate associations of digit ratio and sex-dependent behavior across nations. I am further interested in short-term endocrinological changes, especially in competitive settings, and how they related to measures of prenatal androgenization.