Women in Contemporary Society
Theresa Branconier, Lauren Cullen, &Natalia Gonzalez
Psych 310- Dr. Mills
Changes in Women's Choice of
Dress Across the Ovulatory Cycle:
Naturalistic and Laboratory TaskBased Evidence
By Kristina M. Durante, Norman P. Li and Martie G.
Haselton
Women’s Choice of Dress across
the Ovulatory Cycle
 Women prefer clothing that is more revealing and sexy
when fertility is highest within the ovulatory cycle
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Why do Women’s Preferences for
Clothing Change across the cycle?
 Women simply feel more attractive near ovulation
 OR
 Women dress up more near ovulation as a result of an
increase in intrasexual competitiveness, to enhance
their ability to compete with other women.
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Ovulation & Women’s Social
Motivation
 It was once believed that human ovulation is completely
concealed, possibly even from women themselves.
 Under the evolutionary theory, women are believed to
shift their social motives & behaviors in adaptive way.
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Previous Research Showing Shifts
in Social Motives & Behaviors
 Experience greater sexual desire & more frequent
sexual fantasies during the fertile window of the cycle
 Increased perception of attractiveness & feelings of
sexiness
 Greater motivations to attend social gatherings
 Greater distances traveled by foot
 Fewer calories consumed
 Increase in desire for immediate rewards
 Derogate the competition when reproductive stakes are
higher
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Cues of Ovulation
 People can detect ovulatory shifts in women’s social
behaviors directed towards others.
 Men have evolved to detect by-products of cycling
hormones, including changes in body scent.
 Women may be altering their appearance across the
cycle so that they appear more physically attractive
when fertility is highest.
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Method: Participants
 88 undergraduate females at the University of Texas,
Austin
 Between 17 & 30 years of age with a mean age of 19.10
years
 All normally ovulating
 Compensated with course credit or $30
 Tested for fertility and all were considered to be fertile
at the time of high-fertility testing
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Method: Procedure
 Telephone prescreening was done to determine if
participants fit within the following criteria:
 No current or recent use of hormonal contraceptives
 No irregular cycle length
 No recent birth of a child and/or currently breastfeeding
 No dramatic weight change
 No use of antidepressants
 No regular cigarette smoking
 2 experimental sessions: High-Fertility & Low-Fertility
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Method: Procedure (cont.)
 Luteinizing hormone (LH)
testing done to determine
High & Low fertility groups
 Full-body photo taken
 Biographical Measures taken
 Questionnaires completed
 Romantic Relationship Survey
 Questions regarding sexual
histories, current romantic
relationships, & relationship
histories
 Sociosexual Orientation
Inventory (Simpson
&Gangestad, 1991)
 Measures an individual's
willingness to have sex without
commitment
 Desirability Scale
 Assesses participant selfperceived attractiveness
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Method: Procedure (cont.)
 Outfit Illustration Task
 Design an outfit for your
friend’s party tonight, at
which a lot of single and
attractive people will be
 Use colored pencils to draw
the outfit onto a paper doll
indicating where the shirt,
pants, shorts, skirt, etc.
will begin and end
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Results: Fertility & Clothing
Choice
 Women closest to ovulation in their
high-fertility session showed a

greater increase in the amount of
skin revealed at high fertility
compared to low fertility
 Women who completed highfertility testing on other days

showed little difference in total skin
revealed from high-fertility to lowfertility testing
 Revealingness rating of the clothing
illustration differed significantly
between high and low fertility, and
it was strongly moderated by
proximity to ovulation
Women sketched outfits that were
rated higher in revealingness at high
fertility compared to low fertility
 Stronger difference for women
closer to ovulation
Illustrations were rated sexier at
high fertility than at low fertility
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Results: Sexual Experience &
Clothing Choice
 The effect of more skin being revealed during high fertility
for women closest to ovulation in their high-fertility session
was true only for sexually experienced women
 Sexually inexperienced women closest to ovulation showed no
change in the amount of skin revealed across sessions
 Sexual experience did not moderate the effect of fertility on
the revealing or the sexy ratings of the outfit illustration
 As for the ratings of clothing worn to the lab, women who had
not experience sexual intercourse received higher ratings at
low fertility than at high fertility. The opposite was true for
women who had experience sexual intercourse
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Results: Relationship Status &
Clothing Choice
 Women closest to ovulation in their high-fertility session
who were not in committed relationships revealed a
great amount of skin on the illustration during high
fertility than during low fertility
 Women closest to ovulation in their high-fertility session
who were currently involved in romantic relationships
showed no change in skin revealed across sessions
 As for the clothing worn to the lab, women who were in
a relationship showed more skin and wore sexier outfits
at low fertility than at high fertility, whereas the
opposite was seen for single women
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Results: Attractiveness & Clothing
Choice
 Women with lower self-perceived attractiveness wore
outfits that were more revealing and sexy near
ovulation compared to during low fertility
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Results: SOI & Clothing Choice
 Sexually unrestricted women displayed more skin and
wore outfits that were rated as sexier and more
revealing at high fertility than at low fertility in
comparison to sexually restricted women
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Results: Relationship Satisfaction
& Clothing Choice
 Women reporting high levels of satisfaction with their
romantic partners revealed more skin in their
illustrations and received higher revealing ratings at
high fertility
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Discussion
 Hypothesis was supported – Women prefer more revealing clothing during
the onset of ovulation, particularly in mating-relevant settings.
 Sexually experienced women showed the desire to wear more revealing
clothes during high fertility and less of this desire during low fertility.
However, sexually inexperienced women showed no significant
difference here.
 Women who were taking low doses of testosterone wore more attractive
clothing than the control group women.
 Single women in high fertility were more likely to prefer revealing
clothing than women who had steady partners.
 The more satisfied partnered women were with their relationships, the
more likely they were to prefer revealing clothing during high fertility.
 For women of lower perception of self-attractiveness, there was a more
significant shift from unrevealing to revealing clothing during ovulation.
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Possible Explanations for Shift in
Clothing Preference
 Hormone-mediated changes in motivation
 Women may pay more attention to their attire to
attract extra pair mates
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Limitations and Future Directions
 Possible that premenstrual symptoms cause women to
“dress down” rather than ovulation causing women to
“dress up”
 Small effect size
 Further research is needed to examine the evolved
function of motivations underlying cycle shifts in
clothing choice.
Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., &Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women's choice of dress across the
ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality And Social
Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1451-1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103
Discussion Questions
 What other variables should be introduced for future
research on this topic?
 What are the advantages and disadvantages of women
dressing in more revealing clothing during ovulation?
 What are possible conflicts that may arise from women
wearing more revealing clothing during ovulation?
Video
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Changes in Women`s Choice of Dress Across the