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4 October 2010
The homogenization of beauty
by George Atkinson

Scientists in Australia and Hong Kong have conducted a comprehensive study to discover how different body measurements correspond with ratings of female attractiveness. The study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, found that all the subjects considered young, tall and long armed women the most attractive. A result, say the researchers, that highlights our globally shared media experiences.

"Physical attractiveness is an important determining factor for evolutionary, social and economic success," said lead author Robert Brooks, from the University of New South Wales. "The dimensions of someone's body can tell observers if that person is suitable as a potential mate, a long term partner or perhaps the threat they pose as a sexual competitor."

In the study, the researchers measured the attractiveness of scans of 96 bodies of women who were either students or volunteers, aged between 20-49 years of age. Videos of the models were shown to the subjects and the researchers then compared the attractiveness ratings given by the Australian group to the ratings from a group in Hong Kong.

Both sample groups were asked to rate the models' attractiveness on a 7 point scale; on average the raters took just 5.35 seconds to rate each model. The team then explored the statistical results, focusing on age, body weight and a range of length and girth measurements.

The results showed that there was a strong level of agreement between the groups of Australian subjects and Hong Kong subjects, with scans of younger, taller and lighter women being rated as more attractive. Women with narrow waists, especially relative to their height, were considered much more attractive. Interestingly, leg size did not contribute significantly to the ratings.

"Our results showed consistent attractiveness ratings by men and women and by Hong Kong Chinese and Australian raters, suggesting considerable cross cultural consistency," concluded Brooks. "In part this may be due to shared media experiences… the features that make bodies attractive tend to be shared by men and women across cultural divides."

Glasses A Handicap For Picking Up The Opposite Sex
Attractiveness: The Evolutionary Aftermath
Centrefold Models Becoming Skinnier
Daddies' Girls Attracted To Men Who Resemble Their Fathers

Source: Journal of Evolutionary Biology

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