Social interactions may sometimes collide and result in conflicts which can be solved among others by means of physical violence. However, physical confrontations entail a risk of injuries and other fitness-affecting consequences. Thus, it seems likely that cognitive and behavioural processes to assess the fighting ability may have evolved by means of natural selection. This would facilitate adaptive decisions and responses to decrease costs and increase benefits from potential confrontations. When an individual encounter a potential antagonist, the first step in such decision-making process might depend predominantly on the overall size of the opponent. When the rivals are of roughly equal size, next levels of assessment may relate to perception of facial features or vocal characteristics. Results of our empirical studies show that people are relatively accurate in attributions of certain characteristics from facial traits and voice acoustics, like physical strength, sport performance, propensity for aggression or fighting ability.
Our research focuses predominantly on relationships between personality and morphological characteristics, connected to fighting ability and formidability perception.
This topic is studied by:
Jan Havlíček, Vít Třebický, Jitka Fialová, Pavel Šebesta