Perfectionism and Relationship Status Influence Health Evaluations of Faces With Limbal Rings

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Research consistently demonstrates that limbal rings are a visual cue to health, given their peak vibrancy is observed in healthy individuals. Such perceptual acuity toward limbal rings is especially apparent among women evaluating male faces. The current research was designed as a replication and extension of previous findings demonstrating how women perceive limbal rings. Additionally, we sought to determine if this preference was moderated by relationship status and related to individual differences in perfectionistic tendencies, consistent with past research demonstrating moderation of good genes preferences by personality and relationship status. Women evaluated the perceived health of faces with and without limbal rings before responding to measures assessing perfectionistic tendencies. We replicated previous findings indicating that limbal rings are indeed a health cue, particularly in male faces. Furthermore, we extended previous findings by demonstrating that women higher in other-oriented perfectionism, a dimension of perfectionism associated with exceedingly high criteria for others’ abilities, perceive faces with limbal rings as particularly healthy. Importantly, this perceptual acuity was only apparent among single women. We frame results in terms of how perfectionism facilitates recognition of good gene cues.

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Evolutionary Psychological Science

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