Beyond waist-hip ratio: experimental multivariate evidence that average women's torsos are most attractive

Donohoe, Misha L., von Hippel, William and Brooks, Robert C. (2009) Beyond waist-hip ratio: experimental multivariate evidence that average women's torsos are most attractive. Behavioral Ecology, 20 4: 716-721. doi:10.1093/beheco/arp051

Author Donohoe, Misha L.
von Hippel, William
Brooks, Robert C.
Title Beyond waist-hip ratio: experimental multivariate evidence that average women's torsos are most attractive
Journal name Behavioral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1045-2249
Publication date 2009-07-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/beheco/arp051
Open Access Status
Volume 20
Issue 4
Start page 716
End page 721
Total pages 6
Editor Iain Couzin
Rob Brooks
Dr. Mark Elgar
Place of publication United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
170113 Social and Community Psychology
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract One of the most iconic findings in human behavioral ecology is the fact that women with waist-hip ratios (WHRs) of approximately 0.7 are most attractive and that this ratio indicates maximum fecundity and reproductive value. However, the effects of WHR and of other indices of body shape and size on attractiveness are far from fully resolved. We adopt a recently developed method that combines multivariate manipulation of experimental stimuli with evolutionary selection analysis to test the linear and nonlinear effects of waist, hip, and shoulder width and the interactions between these traits on the attractiveness of 200 line-drawn models to 100 men. There was no general support that WHR or body mass (expressed as perimeter–area ratio) significantly influences attractiveness. There was, however, strong preference for average values of all 3 traits indicating that attractiveness is due to the tight integration of these 3 traits. We plot the mean waist and hip sizes of 8 samples of women on our response surface, including Playboy centerfolds, models from the 1920s and 1990s, Australian escorts, and Australian women in 4 different age categories (collectively we refer to this latter group as the "regular women"). The regular women in the 25- to 44-year age-group were closest to the peak attractiveness value on our response surface. Our results highlight the strong integration of and interrelationships among different parts of the body as determinants of attractiveness.
Keyword attractiveness
multivariate selection
response surface
selection analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article published online 21st May, 2009. Published in print July, 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 15 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 17:48:37 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Psychology