Hot or not? Factors that influence mate selection through the perception of body attractiveness

Potter, Katrina (2011). Hot or not? Factors that influence mate selection through the perception of body attractiveness Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Potter, Katrina
Thesis Title Hot or not? Factors that influence mate selection through the perception of body attractiveness
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Brendan Zietsch
Total pages 59
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Evolutionary theories of human mate selection propose that the evaluation of potential sexual partners is affected by preferences for physical cues that signal genetic quality and reproductive value. Consistent cross-cultural differences in ratings of body attractiveness suggest that these preferences may reflect ecological conditions, whereby attractiveness ratings may be affected by symptoms of resource scarcity and pathogen prevalence. In the current study, participants rated the attractiveness of a range of opposite-sex bodies that differed in body mass index (BMI) and in either shoulder-to-hip ratio (SHR; male images) or waist-to-hip ratio (WHR; female images). To replicate ecological differences, participants rated the bodies after being primed to feel concern over either financial or disease issues. It was predicted that participants primed with financial concerns would prefer bodies that have higher WHRs and lower SHRs. Participants primed with disease issues were expected to prefer bodies with lower WHRs and higher SHRs. Additionally, the study sought to investigate the effects of personal financial insecurity and pathogen disgust. It was predicted that participants indicating low financial status would prefer bodies with higher WHRs and lower SHRs. Conversely, it was predicted that participants indicating a high sensitivity to pathogen disgust, would prefer bodies with lower WHRs and higher SHRs. Results supported the hypotheses regarding pathogen concerns, with participants primed with pathogen disgust as well as those indicating high levels of pathogen disgust being found to prefer bodies with lower WHR and higher SHRs. The hypotheses regarding resource scarcity were not supported. The results are discussed in terms of evolutionary theories of mate selection.
Keyword Mate selection
Body attractiveness
Genetic quality and reproductive value

 
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