August 31, 2009

Eye-tracking of men's preferences for women's body shape

Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Eye-Tracking of Men's Preferences for Waist-to-Hip Ratio and Breast Size of Women.

Dixson BJ, Grimshaw GM, Linklater WL, Dixson AF.

Studies of human physical traits and mate preferences often use questionnaires asking participants to rate the attractiveness of images. Female waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), breast size, and facial appearance have all been implicated in assessments by men of female attractiveness. However, very little is known about how men make fine-grained visual assessments of such images. We used eye-tracking techniques to measure the numbers of visual fixations, dwell times, and initial fixations made by men who viewed front-posed photographs of the same woman, computer-morphed so as to differ in her WHR (0.7 or 0.9) and breast size (small, medium, or large). Men also rated these images for attractiveness. Results showed that the initial visual fixation (occurring within 200 ms from the start of each 5 s test) involved either the breasts or the waist. Both these body areas received more first fixations than the face or the lower body (pubic area and legs). Men looked more often and for longer at the breasts, irrespective of the WHR of the images. However, men rated images with an hourglass shape and a slim waist (0.7 WHR) as most attractive, irrespective of breast size. These results provide quantitative data on eye movements that occur during male judgments of the attractiveness of female images, and indicate that assessments of the female hourglass figure probably occur very rapidly.



Festering_Git said...

Wadda ya think of this article?

Any truth to it or politically correct BS?

Major Tom said...

If this is true well'see Australia's europeans with dark skin very soon.

Dean said...

I like a woman at work with a great hourglass figure and large breasts, but I like a woman at the same job even better who does not have large breasts and is skinny without much of an hourglass figure.

I like the lesser-buxom/shapely coworker because she is very smart, and that to me contributes to someone's sexual appeal. Of course men like women with large breasts and hourglass figures, but studies like this one are simplistic. Studies like this one also need to examine who people actually end up with rather than who they prefer.

Unit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unit said...

Dean: who men end up with has often little to do with who they prefer. They end up with who they're preferred by, and the resulting breast size + hip/waist ratio fills up the preference slot in their brains - it better did, or else...

(Yes, studies like this are simplistic - but not more then we are.)

Kepler said...

Perhaps the best study would be to measure people up at the time they are getting married. :-)

eurologist said...

Not sure how this relates to the topic, and there are too many errors in this article to comment on.

The bottom line, though, has been known for many, many decades.

Yes, clearly, fishing would have been a very large part of pre-agricultural sustenance in northern Europe - but it is not just the extremes of northern Europe that receive too little light for vitamin D production. So does the Danubian valley - both because of latitude, and because of its infamous fog and cloud cover. So, it is not 5,000 years ago, but 7,500 years ago that the first farmers of the Danubian area were forced to adapt to lighter skin pigmentation. Keep in mind that skin and hair color are one of the most easily changed attributes of animals and people - so there is no surprise that this could become widespread in a couple of centuries.

As to the main article of this topic, there is of course the problem that we all like to stare at extremes (and accidents), but that does not necessarily indicate preference. So, men mind stare at "my god, are those big ...", but their preference may be more the average, or quality (shape, apparently not measured, here) over quantity.

Finally, computer-generated images have the strong disadvantage that they do not preserve natural proportions and existing correlations. In reality, preferred breast size will be related to all: body size, body weight, and body shape. Vice versa, preferred body shape in reality is related to height, weight, and other characteristics - even facial form.

eurologist said...

I should add that at the 7,500 years-ago time frame I mentioned, there would have already been a significant pool of (relatively?) fair-skinned people living in Central Europe, from which agriculturalists would easily inherit. This is so because meat, even liver, has a very small amount of vitamin D compared to fish or sea mammals.

Thus, in Central Europe away from the coasts, where fishing was seasonal and (from the archaeological record) likely mostly done by specialized groups just after the last ice age, it already at that time would have been advantageous to get a reliable amount this vitamin through skin color, instead.