A test of Miller's aesthetic fitness hypothesis

Helen Clegg, Daniel Nettle, Dorothy Miell

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Miller has argued that artworks act as fitness indicators in mate choice. However, there has been little empirical work to support or refute this assertion. This study aims to rectify this and in so doing to develop a novel method to consider whether observers of art are able to accurately assess the qualities of the artist and to use these judgements in mate choice. Fifty-one females rated six males on creativity, intelligence, attractiveness, dexterity and personality through assessment of experimental artworks they had produced. They then indicated which of the artists they would most like to go out on a date with and why. Results provided some support for the aesthetic fitness hypothesis and highlighted possible improvements to the method which has the potential to be an effective way in which to evaluate potential fitness indicators in mate choice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-115
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


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