Characteristics of male attractiveness for women

Characteristics of male attractiveness for women,10.1016/S0140-6736(99)00438-9,Lancet,DS Maisey,ELE Vale,PL Cornelissen,M J Tovée

Characteristics of male attractiveness for women   (Citations: 46)
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5 To explore this hypothesis we replicated the experiments on female attractiveness, but substituting male bodies and female raters. 30 female undergraduates (average age 20·6 (SD 1·4)) rated colour pictures of 50 men in front view. For each man we measured their waist-chest ratio (WCR, a measure of upper body shape), their waist-hip ratio (WHR, a measure of lower body shape), and their BMI. To ensure there was an equal range of variation of BMI, WCR, and WHR within the image set, we first measured these characteristics from a sample of 214 young men. We then chose 50 pictures representing a range of SD 1·7 either side of the mean of the distributions of BMI, WCR, and WHR in our sample. The heads of the images were obscured. The images were presented in random order, and the individuals saw the full set of images to familiarise them with the range, before they rated them. The relationship between attractiveness and BMI, WHR, and WCR are shown in figure A. Simple regression procedures showed that, individually, all three characteristics were significant contributors to attractiveness rating. Multiple-polynomial regression was used to identify the characteristics that were the best predictors of attractiveness while controlling for the age of the images. WCR was the principal determinant of attractivenes s and accounted for 56% of the variance; whereas BMI accounted for only 12·7% of the additional variance. WHR was not a significant predictor of attractiveness in the model. The best-fit model is y=2·776 x1-0·0607 x2-13·007 x3-16·796 where y predicted attractiveness and x1 . . . x 3 are: BMI, BMI, 2 and WCR, respectively). The strong correlation of attractivenes s with WCR is illustrated in the figure, B. Even small changes in WCR will significantly alter the attractiveness rating of a male body. The results show that a woman's ratings of male attractiveness can be explained by simple physical characteristics, in particular the WCR. However, unlike female physical attractiveness, it is shape that is important for male attractiveness and not size. Women prefer men whose torso has an "inverted triangle" shape (ie, a narrow waist and a broad chest and shoulders). This is a shape consistent with physical strength and muscle
Journal: Lancet , vol. 353, no. 9163, pp. 1500-1500, 1999
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