The Science of a Sexy Face: Why Chris Hemsworth Is People's 'Sexiest Man Alive'


Even though we’ve mentally evolved past falling for the hunkiest caveman in the tribe, it turns out that part of our brain hasn’t. (Photo courtesy of People).

Given the fact that he is a Norse god, it’s no surprise that Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, best known for his role as Thor, has been named People magazine’s 2014 “Sexiest Man Alive” (sorry, Adam Levine—it was a good run).

Even if Hemsworth isn’t your cup of tea, it’s hard to deny that he is traditionally handsome. The facial features of Hemsworth and other celebs like him—think Daniel Craig and David Beckham—possess the smoldering masculine attributes that humans have evolved to find attractive and sexy.

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“It’s that rugged handsomeness,” social and consumer psychologist Debbie Then, PhD., told Yahoo Health. “They’re men’s men, and they’re strong—there’s that protection factor.”


The most attractive characteristics of Hemsworth’s face and how humans subconsciously read them. (Photo by Getty Images)

But beyond that, masculine facial features like Hemsworth’s—the chiseled jaw, broad chin, and prominent brow bone—are classic hallmarks of testosterone. These features are designed to push certain evolutionary buttons, subconsciously advertising virility and good health.

In other words, Hemsworth would likely make a solid mate choice—or at least be perfect for a short-term fling (though he’s already spoken for).

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Several studies have shown that, in general, women are more attracted to masculine men during ovulation, when they’re at their most fertile. It makes sense because these particular men would have been smart choices for our female ancestors, potentially improving an offspring’s chances of survival.

Even though we’ve mentally evolved past falling for the hunkiest caveman in the tribe, it turns out that part of our brain hasn’t. Women still scan men’s facial traits because they help reveal information about the men’s testosterone levels and even how strong their immune systems are — crucial information to know about a mate, especially before modern medicine.

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A 2011 study in the journal Nature Communications had women look at photographs of men and rank them according to attractiveness. The men who were rated the most attractive turned out to have both high levels of testosterone and strong immune systems. The female study participants subconsciously picked up on those evolutionary cues just by looking at a photograph.

Other research has shown that women are drawn to men who, like Hemsworth, possess prominent cheekbones and a strong chin, which are seen as signs of male physical maturity and strength. Hemsworth’s clear, bright eyes and blemish-free skin? Also indicators of mate-worthy good health.

Another factor in Hemsworth’s favor: His face is symmetrical, meaning that if you drew a vertical line down his face, both sides would appear identical—though no one’s face is perfectly symmetrical. Facial symmetry is considered the epitome of beauty, but not just because it’s pleasant to look at—symmetry also indicates healthy development and, you guessed it, good genes.

So for those who do harbor a crush on Hemsworth, now you know why.

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