Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Donald F. Sacco

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Alen Hajnal

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Lucas A. Keefer

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Richard S. Mohn

Committee Member 4 School



Human facial structures communicate personality from which one can infer another’s behavioral intentions, forming a basis for mate selection. One particularly detectable trait through facial structures is extraversion. Extraversion is a trait associated with heightened interest in promiscuous mating strategies and preferred among individuals similarly interested in short-term mating, implicating extraverted mates as ideal trait for short-term mating. Nonetheless, behavioral repertoires associated with extraversion may also pose risks, particularly in long-term mating, as their increased promiscuity may undermine their fidelity to a specific partner, thereby potentially reducing biparental investment in any offspring produced. Thus, a preference for introversion (i.e., low extraversion) may be desirable in long-term mating. This dissertation sought to determine the extent to which differential mating contexts, as elicited through activating context-specific motives, influence preferences for facially communicated extraversion versus introversion. Men and women were experimentally primed with mating motives, either long- or short-term, or a control state before indicating the extent to which various mating-related motivational states were activated (i.e., arousal, intrasexual competition, infidelity concerns, sociosexually unrestricted attitudes). Finally, I tasked them with indicating their preferences among male and female face pairs manipulated to communicate high and low levels of extraversion. Consistent with previous research, participants reported a preference for extraverted female faces and aversion to extraverted male faces. However, and contrary to hypotheses, differential mating contexts influenced neither men’s nor women’s preferences for extraversion. Furthermore, no motivational states provided the predicted mediation pathways. I frame these results based on various methodological limitations that could inform future research and posit future directions.