March 10, 2007

Male physical attractiveness ratings by British and Greek women

I would appreciate it if someone e-mailed me a copy of this article, since I can't seem to locate it online.

UPDATE. Never mind, I have found a copy of the paper:
In particular, researchers think that women prefer men whose torsos have the shape of an inverted triangle--that is, a narrow waist and a broad chest and shoulders--which is consistent with physical strength and muscle development in the upper body. This finding is comparable with findings of other studies in which researchers used line drawings that show that women prefer men with a V shape (wider shoulders than chest, which is wider than the hips; Frederick & Haselton, 2003; Furnham & Radley, 1989; Lavrakas, 1975). This set of findings is in marked contrast with those of studies of female bodily attractiveness, which have indicated the possibility that body weight is overwhelmingly the most important determinant of attractiveness, with the WHR playing a minor role (Swami, in press; Swami & Furnham, 2006; Swami & Tovee, 2005a; Swami, Antonakopoulos, Tovee, & Furnham, 2006; Swami, Caprario, Tovee, & Furnham, 2006; Wilson, Tripp, & Boland, 2005).


The total variance that was explained by this model for the relationship between WCR and attractiveness ratings was 44.8% for the Greek participants and 54.6% for the British participants, indicating the possibility that WCR was the primary component of attractiveness ratings for both groups. Figure 2 shows the corresponding relationship for attractiveness and BMI, with both sets also being significantly explained by BMI, p < .05. However, the total variance that was explained by the relationship between BMI and attractiveness was noticeably smaller: 26.7% for the Greek group and 19.7% for the British group. This finding indicates the possibility that although BMI is an important additional component of attractiveness ratings for both groups, its importance is not as great as that of WCR. Finally, the relationship between attractiveness ratings and WHR was not significant for either group, ps > .05.


First, it is noticeable from Figure 1 that the gradient of the relationship between attractiveness and WCR is different between the two groups: -13.88 for the Greek participants and -7.56 for the British participants. That is, the Greek participants appeared to judge a body that was more V-shaped (lower WCR) as more attractive than did British participants.


To explore this possibility, we followed Swami and Tovee (2005b) in fitting second-order polynomials for BMI to the attractiveness ratings made by all participants in both groups, allowing us to calculate the BMI at peak attractiveness for each participant. The peak was 21.34 kg/[m.sup.2] for the Greek group and 23.07 kg/[m.sup.2] for the British group. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that there was an overall significant difference between the two peak BMIs, F(1, 75) = 28.80, p < .05. This result suggests that although Greek women may prefer men with a more muscular body build, they also seem to differ from British women in preferring a thinner male physique.


This explanation indicates the possibility that individuals who adopt traditional gender roles tend to have preferences for body shapes that are defined as attractive in the traditional sense, namely hour-glass shapes for women and muscular V shapes for men. In contrast, individuals who adopt liberated gender roles have less stereotyped preferences. Although we did not explicitly measure gender-role stereotyping in the two cultures that we sampled in the present study, there is some evidence indicating the possibility that Greece has more gender-role stereotyping than does Britain (e.g., Apparala, Reifman, & Munsch, 2003). Thus, it is possible that Greek women place greater importance on a low WCR than do British women because they inhabit a culture where gender roles are more strongly differentiated.
Interestingly from Carleton S. Coon, The Races of Europe about the modern Greeks:
"Their mean stature, 168 cm., is moderately tall; their bodily proportions are for the most part intermediate; the shoulders arc broad, the trunk length moderate, as shown by a relative sitting height of 52.9; the relative span is 104."

J Soc Psychol. 2007 Feb;147(1):15-26.

Male physical attractiveness in Britain and Greece: a cross-cultural study.

Swami V, Smith J, Tsiokris A, Georgiades C, Sangareau Y, Tovee MJ, Furnham A.

Department of Psychology, University College London.

The waist-to-chest ratio (WCR), body mass index (BMI), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) are the major cues to women's ratings of men's bodily attractiveness (J. T. Fan, W. Dai, F. Liu, & J. Wu, 2005; D. M. Maisey, E. L. E. Vale, P. L. Cornelissen, & M. J. Tovee, 1999; V. Swami & M. J. Tovee, 2005b). The authors examined the relative importance of each of these cues cross-culturally in Greece and Britain. Participants were 36 British and 40 Greek women who rated a set of images of real men with known WCR, BMI, and WHR. The results showed that, regardless of the cultural setting, WCR was the primary determinant of men's physical attractiveness to women, with BMI playing a minor role. However, there were also cross-cultural differences: The Greek women showed a stronger preference for a lower WCR and smaller overall body weight than did the British women. The authors considered possible explanations of these findings.


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