PSYB64 – Article 2 Ovulation: women dress to impress
• self-grooming and ornamentation through attractive choice of dress – increase during
the fertile phase of the ovulatory cycle.
• At above-chance levels, 42 judges selected photographs of women in their fertile
(59.5%) rather than luteal phase (40.5%) as“trying to look more attractive.”
• the closer women were to ovulation when photographed in the fertile window, the
more frequently their fertile photograph was chosen
• women's body scents near ovulation are judged as more attractive by men
• women's ranging activities, such as locomotion and volunteering for social activities,
tend to increase near ovulation.
• on high fertility days of the cycle women report a greater desire to go to clubs and
parties where they might meet men.
• Women's ability to categorize male faces and male stereotypic words is faster near
ovulation, suggesting increased attentiveness to “maleness” at high fertility.
• women tested near midcycle, compared with those tested in other cycle phases, tend
to give lower attractiveness ratings to photographs of female faces
◦ women are more intrasexually competitive near ovulation
• In sum, a variety of data sources indicate that women's social motivations – in
particular, their sexual motivations – increase near ovulation
• Ornamentation in non-humans, including bright plumage, long tails, and large bodies,
is generally presumed to be the product of sexual selection.
◦ These traits are effective in attracting mates, either because they indicate fitness
(e.g., due to costs of their maintenance)
• Although rare, animals occasionally employ behavioral ornamentation, as opposed to
morphological ornamentation, in the effort to attract mates
◦ Male bowerbirds, for example, found in Australia and New Guinea, build elaborate
structures ornamented with brightly colored flowers and fruits in order to attract
◦ Male bowerbirds will often also pick up a brightly colored object in their beaks while
displaying to a female, thus effectively ornamenting themselves
• Men's behaviors toward their partners shift across the cycle
◦ in the fertile relative to the luteal phase of the cycle, men are more attentive and
loving toward their partners
◦ men are more jealous and possessive during this time as well
• women's reports of flirtatiousness with men other than their primary partner were
higher when assessed during the late follicular as compared with the luteal phase of
• In both studies, ovulatory increases in flirtatiousness statistically predicted ovulatory
increases in male mate retention effort but did not fully account for them, leaving open
the possibility that other ovulatory cues affect men's behavior
• This study predicts that women engage in selfor