Urszula Marcinkowska


I work with the evolutionary basis of human sexual selection. After obtaining an MSc in Biology from Jagiellonian University in Poland I have completed PhD training in Human Evolutionary Biology at Turku University, Finland. Since the beginning of the scientific training I have been researching sexual preferences of humans and searching for signs of sexual selection and evolutionary bases of our daily behaviours. Most of my projects investigated preferences towards different faces, and factors that shape these preferences. Among other topics, I worked on sexual imprinting in humans (do we like or dislike faces that resemble our parents or siblings), cross-cultural variations of sexual preferences and an interesting fusion of Dark Triad features (Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellianism) and sexual preferences and reproductive success.

My first post doc realised on Medical College of Jagiellonian Univeristy in Poland focused more on how sex hormones influence women’s preferences, sexual openness and overall well-being. Together with members of Human Evolutionary and Reproductive Ecology research group we have meticulously measured changes in sex hormones throughout menstrual cycles and then search for their correlates in sexual preferences and behaviour.

My second post-doc project was part of a Fulbright Senior grant in Yale Reproductive Ecology Lab (USA). My project titled “Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? A Study of the Relationship Between Women’s Fertility, Facial Attractiveness, Symmetry and Perceived Health” will focus on combining computational methodology with subjective judgements of facial cognition, in relation to women’s fertility and reproductive costs.

Currently I am employed as Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health of Jagiellonian University Medical College, where I work with evolutionary approach to human reproduction, sexual selection and psychoneuroendocrinology.

Contact: ummarcinkowska@gmail.com


Marcinkowska UM, Ziomkiewicz A., Kleisner K, Galbarczyk A, Klimek M, Jasienska G, Bribiescas R. G. 2020. Oxidative stress as a hidden cost of attractiveness in postmenopausal women, Scientific Reports, 10: 21970 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76627-9

Marcinkowska UM, Mijas M, Koziara K, Grebe N, Jasienska G. 2020. Variation in sociosexuality across natural menstrual cycles: Associations with ovarian. In press

Marcinkowska UM, Holzleitner IJ. 2020. Stability of women’s facial shape throughout the menstrual cycle. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Marcinkowska UM. 2020.  Importance of Daily Sex Hormone Measurements Within the Menstrual Cycle for Fertility Estimates in Cyclical Shifts Studies. Evolutionary Psychology, 18(1), 1474704919897913. doi:10.1177/1474704919897913

Jones BC, Marcinkowska UM, DeBruine LM. 2019. Assessing the evidentiary value of secondary data analyses: A commentary on Gangestad, Dinh, Grebe, Del Giudice, and Thompson (2019). Evolution and Human Behavior, 40(6): 531-532. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2019.08.004

Thomson R, Yuki M, Talhelm T, Schug J, Kito M, Ayanian AH, Becker JC, Becker M,Chiu C, Choi H, Ferreira CM, Fülöp M, Gul P, Houghton-Illera AM, Joasoo M, Jong J, Kavanagh CM, Khutkyy D, Manzi C, Marcinkowska UM, Milfont,Neto F, Oertzen T, Pliskin R, San Martin A, Singh P, Visserman ML. 2019. Relational mobility predicts social behaviors in 39 countries and is tied to historical farming and threat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(29): 7521 7526

Galbarczyk A, Mijas M, Marcinkowska UM, Koziara K, Apanasewicz A, Ziomkiewicz A. 2019. Association between sexual orientations of individuals and perceptions of tattooed men, Psychology & Sexuality https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2019.1679867

Marcinkowska UM, Helle S, Jones BC, Jasienska G. 2019. Does testosterone predict women’s preference for facial masculinity? PLOS One 14: e0210636 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210636

Marcinkowska UM, Hahn AC, Little AC, DeBruine LM, Jones BC. 2019. No evidence that women using oral contraceptives have weaker preferences for masculine characteristics in men’s face. PLOS One 14: e0210162 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210162

Marcinkowska UM, Rantala MJ, Lee AL, Kozlov MV, Aavik T, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, David OA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Onyishi IE, Prasai K, Pazhoohi F, Prokop P, Rosales Cardozo AL, Sydney N, Taniguchi H, Krams I, Dixson BJW. 2019. Women’s preferences for men’s facial masculinity are strongest under favorable ecological conditions. Scientific Reports 9: 3387 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39350-8

Antfolk J, Johansson L, Westerlund M, Marcinkowska UM, Santtila P. 2018. The role of intra-sexual competition in attitudes towards immigrants. Personality and Individual Differences 132: 84-89

Thomson R, Yuki M, Talhelm T, Schug J, …, Marcinkowska UM, SIngh P, Mariko L. Visserman. 2018. Relational mobility predicts social behaviors in 39 countries and is tied to historical farming and threat. PNAS 115: 7521-7526

Reynolds TA, Makhanova A, Marcinkowska UM, Jasienska G, McNulty JK, Eckel LA, Nikonova L, Maner JK. 2018. Progesterone and women’s anxiety across the menstrual cycle. Hormones and Behavior 102: 34-40

Marcinkowska UM, Kaminski G, Little AC, Jasienska G. 2018. Average ovarian hormone levels, rather than daily values and their fluctuations, are related to facial preferences among women. Hormones and Behavior 102: 114-119

Richards G, Klimek M, Jasienska G, Marcinkowska UM. 2018. Digit ratio (2D:4D) and circulating testosterone, oestradiol, and progesterone levels across the menstrual cycle. Early Human Development 117: 68-73

Marcinkowska UM, Little AC, Galbarczyk A, Nenko I, Klimek M, Jasienska G. 2018. Costs of reproduction are reflected in women’s faces: post-menopausal women with fewer children are perceived as more attractive, healthier and younger than women with more children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2017: 1-5

Marcinkowska UM, Jasienska G, Prokop P. 2017. Long-term fertility and preferences: differences in masculinity preferences between naturally cycling, pregnant, lactating and post-menopausal women. Archives of Sexual Behavior 47: 1367-1374

Dixson BJW, Lee AJ, Blake KR, Jasienska G, Marcinkowska UM. 2017. Women’s preferences for men’s beards do not change with fertility. Hormones and Behavior 78: 1-7

Marcinkowska UM, Galbarczyk A, Jasienska G. 2017. La donna è mobile? Lack of cyclical shifts in facial symmetry, and facial and body masculinity preferences – a hormone based study. Psychoneuroendocrinology 88: 47-53

Klimek M, Marcinkowska UM, Jasienska G. 2017. Value of digit ratio 2D:4D, a biomarker of prenatal hormone exposure, is stable across the menstrual cycle. Early Human Development 110: 21-24

Marcinkowska UM, Terraube J, Kaminski G. 2016. How did my little sister influence my facial preferences? Scientific Reports 6: 33545 doi:10.1038/srep33545

Marcinkowska UM, Helle S, Lyons MT. 2016. Women’s reproductive success and the preference for Dark Triad in men’s faces. Evolution and Human Behavior 37: 287–292

Lyons MT, Marcinkowska UM, Palmer V, Harrison N. 2016. Relationship status and resource availability affect women’s preference for masculinity: evidence from an eye-tracking study. Personality and Individual Differences 95: 25-28

Marcinkowska UM, Ellison PT, Galbarczyk A, Milkowska K, Pawlowski B, Thune I, Jasienska G. 2016. Lack of support for relation between woman’s masculinity preference, estradiol level and mating context. Hormones and Behavior 78: 1-7

Marcinkowska UM, Dixson B, Kozlov MV, Rantala MJ. 2015. Men’s Preferences for Female Facial Femininity Decline With Age. Journal of Gerontology doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbv077

Marcinkowska UM, Helle S, Lyons MT. 2015. Dark traits: Sometimes hot, and sometimes not? Female preferences for Dark Triad faces depend on sociosexuality and contraceptive use. Personality and Individual Differences 86: 369 – 373

Lyons MT, Marcinkowska UM, Helle S, McGrath L. 2015. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most masculine of them all? The Dark Triad, masculinity, and women’s mate choice. Personality and Individual Differences 74: 153-158

Marcinkowska UM, Kozlov MV, Contreras-Garduno J, Dixson BJ, Oana GA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Lyons MT, Onyishi IE, Prasai K, Prokop P, Rosales Cardozo S, Sydney N, Yong JC, Rantala MJ. 2014. Cross­cultural variation in men’s preference for sexual dimorphism in women faces. Biology Letters 10: 20130850

Burris R, Marcinkowska UM, Lyons MT. 2014. Gaze properties of women judging the attractiveness of masculine and feminine male faces. Evolutionary Psychology 12: 19­-35

Marcinkowska UM, Moore FH, Rantala MJ. 2013.  An experimental test of Westermarck effect: sex differences in inbreeding avoidance. Behavioral Ecology 24: 842­-845

Moore FR, Coetzee V, Contreras-Garduño J, Debruine LM, Kleisner K, Krams I, Marcinkowska UM, Nord A, Perrett DI, Rantala MJ, Schaum N, Suzuki TN. 2012. An experimental test of Westermarck effect: sex differences in inbreeding avoidance. Biology Letters 9: 2013005

Marcinkowska UM & Rantala MJ. 2012.  Sexual imprinting on facial traits of opposite ­sex parents in humans. Evolutionary Psychology 10: 621-­630

Rantala MJ & Marcinkowska UM. 2011. The role of positive and negative sexual imprinting on mate choice in humans. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65: 859-873