Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Peter Vietze

Committee Member

Jennifer Pardo

Committee Member

Oksana Huk


Mate choice copying is the notion that a person or animal, after observing another choosing a romantic or sexual partner, will perceive that partner as more attractive and possibly attempt to acquire that same partner for themselves. Using measurement of pupil size in response to the presentation of pictures of men and women both alone and with a neutral or admiring partner, it was hypothesized that such a biometric measure could substantiate previous research that has supported the evidence of mate choice copying in people. This study's methodology complements that of previous studies utilizing questionnaires to measure the attractiveness of other individuals as well as behavioral ecology studies that examine this phenomenon in animals. The current study utilizes pupil dilation, which might serve as a proxy for physical attractiveness in humans and can be measured objectively. It was found that Likert ratings of attractiveness and pupil sizes are moderately correlated and that presenting a picture of another alongside a target face can increase the target face's attractiveness. The current research supports previous mate choice copying research and discusses implications for using pupillometry in studies that look at perception of attractiveness in people.

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Psychology Commons