Darwin (1871)
• Didn’t specify morphological features
that females used to select males
• Females used aesthetic preference
• Independent of male health or fitness
• Wallace suggested vigor and health
Singh (1995)
• WHR in females’ judgments
• Fat deposits on males are healthrelevant
• Predict women will find male WHRs in
typical male range more attractive
Study 1
• 87 women, age 18-22
• Ranked 12 images (most to least
• Top and bottom three for:
– good health, youthfulness, attractiveness,
sexy, desire for children, faithfulness,
caring father, ambitious, intelligent,
aggressiveness, leadership, strong and
powerful, kind and understanding, sense of
Multidimensional Scaling: Female Judgment of Male Attractiveness
II: Body weight
• WHR more related to attractiveness, health,
intelligence, and leadership qualities
• Body weight more related to kindness and
understanding, and being a caring father
Multidimensional Unfolding: Female
Judgment of Male Attractiveness
• Perception of male attractiveness influenced
by WHR size depending on overall body
• Only normal weight with male-typical WHRs
perceived as healthy and attractive
• Healthiness appears to be necessary
condition for attractiveness
• Being strong and powerful not related to
attractiveness or healthiness
– Fits with highly muscular men not being rated
most attractive (e.g., Biasiotto & Ferrando, 1991)
• Lack of positive relationship between
kindness and understanding and
– “Dark side of beauty” (Dermer & Thiel, 1975)
Study 2
• 158 women; wide rang of ages, SES, and
• Showed N7, N9, N10 images
• Three income levels (low, middle, upper
class) matching three occupations (bank
teller, video store manager, businessman)
• Willingness for relationship:
– have coffee/casual conversation, go on a date,
nonromantic friendship, short-term romantic, longterm serious romantic, marriage
• 3 (WHR) X 3 (income level) factorial
• Complex interactions
• Overall, figures with higher WHRs and
financial status were rated more
desirable for all relationships
• Financial status can compensate for
lower attractiveness, but men need both
high WHR and finances to be maximally
• Female characteristics enter in
• 18-25 years more inclined to dating; 26-35
more inclined to long-term and marriage; 3669 sought long-term relationships
(companionship over reproductive)
• Females with lower education more willing to
go for coffee and have nonromantic friendship
than females with high education, but only if
target figure’s income was high
• Females with lower income showed higher
preference than those with high income for
target figures with higher WHR and finances
for coffee and conversation
Broadly Speaking
• Women show preference for WHR in
0.9 range (0.85-0.95)
• 0.7 is in gynoid range
• Over 1.0 into obesity
Manipulation of male WHR
Torso tapering
Shoulders appear broader
Franzoni & Herzog (1987), Horvath
– Average 1.2 (male), 1.04 (female)
Dijkstra & Buunk (2001)
Male and Female undergrads
Singh images
Male figures
– WHR 0.7 and 0.9
– SHR 1.20 and 1.40 (based on male fashion
• Jealousy
– If figure was sexually interested in subject’s
• Dominance
– Self-confident, ambitious, competent, assertive,
influential, dominant
• Attractiveness
– How attractive, how attractive to member of
opposite sex
• High SHR produced greater jealousy in
male subjects
• Both female and male subjects rated
low WHR and high SHR figures as more
attractive and dominant
• Females put greater emphasis on WHR,
whereas males attended more to SHR
Buunk & Dijkstra (2005)
• Generally, a follow-up study
• Women attend more to rival women’s waist,
hips, and hair; men attend more to rival men’s
• Low WHR low SHR rivals (i.e., slender body
build) evoked most male jealousy; these
figures rated most attractive and socially
dominant, but not most physically dominant
• Males in study were older (M = 48 years);
SHR less significant than for younger males
Hughes & Gallup (2003)
Age of first sexual intercourse
Number sexual partners
Number of EPCs
Number of cases of being an EPC
• Undergraduate students
• Males
– SHR 1.03-1.40 (M=1.18)
– WHR 0.73-1.03 (M=0.86)
• Females
– SHR 0.9-1.22 (M=1.03)
– WHR 0.69-0.87 (M=0.77)
• In males, higher SHR significantly correlates
Younger age for first sex
More sexual partners
More EPC partners
More instances of being an EPC partner
• Male WHR
– Earlier first sex for 0.9, delayed for <0.9 and >0.9
• In females, SHR has no significant
– Lower WHRs in females follows male SHR pattern
Hughes, Dispenza & Gallup
• Opposite sex voice attractiveness
• Positively correlated with SHR in males
• Negatively correlated with WHR in
• Voice attractiveness positively
correlates with age of first sex, number
of sexual partners, number EPCs, etc.
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