A new study examining levels of sexual attractiveness has discovered that women are significantly influenced by other women's opinions, with men who can attract the smiles of the opposite sex being considered better looking than those who can't.

Scientists at Edinburgh University reached their conclusions by showing men and women pairs of male faces then adding a third photo of a female smiling at some of the men. Researchers discovered men who the woman smiled at were suddenly rated more attractive, the Guardian reported.

"So when you're out in a bar, there's an advantage to being nice to everyone," study chief Dr Ben Jones from the Face Research Laboratory told the Guardian, "Because if they're smiling at you, it's going to make you more attractive."

Men responded differently to their more attractive mates, Indian reported agency Zee News reported, responding if anything jealously to their suddenly successful rivals.

"Within-sex competition promotes negative attitudes towards men who are the target of positive social interest from women," said Zee (quoting the New Scientist).

Dr Jones previously appeared in the national press commenting on another study of attractiveness last year, which claimed that humans are most attracted to men with unconventional distinctive features such as Mick Jagger (his lips) and Tony Blair (his flapping ears) instead of the symmetrical features usually cited as ideal.

"We can clearly show that you get this peculiar fact that humans seem to be more excitable when they see a caricature rather than a normal face," study author Dr Gunter Loffler of Glasgow University said in January 2006. "The more dramatic the faces are, the stronger the response is."

Article by Jonty Skrufff

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