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Predicting female physical attractiveness: Waist-to-hip ratio versus thinness

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Introductory psychology students (120 females and 120 males) rated attractiveness and fecundity of one of six computer-altered female figures representing three body-weight categories (underweight, normal weight and overweight) and two levels of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), one in the ideal range (0.72) and one in the non-ideal range (0.86). Both females and males judged underweight figures to be more attractive than normal or overweight figures, regardless of WHR. The female figure with the high WHR (0.86) was judged to be more attractive than the figure with the low WHR (0.72) across all body-weight conditions. Analyses of fecundity ratings revealed an interaction between weight and WHR such that the models did not differ in the normal weight category, but did differ in the underweight (model with WHR of 0.72 was less fecund) and overweight (model with WHR of 0.86 was more fecund) categories. These findings lend stronger support to sociocultural rather than evolutionary hypotheses.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-06-20

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