Are male aesthetic preferences for female waist-to-hip ratios domain-specific? : an investigation of two evolutionary psychological assumptions regarding male aesthetic preferences.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Theoretical models based in Evolutionary Psychology posit that male aesthetic preference for a female waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 reflects evolved psychological mechanisms for identifying high quality males. The current study replicated and extended previous evolutionary psychological waist-to-hip ratio literature by surveying 108 male participants on their aesthetic preference for female waist-to-hip ratios. The results indicated that a female waist-to hip ratio of 0.75 was perceived by males to be maximally attractive. This finding is consistent with past female waist-to hip ratio research (e.g. Singh, 1993). The current study also provided evidence that male preference for female waist-to-hip ratios is domain-specific by documenting that males do not systematically prefer 0.75 concavity in other (non-human female) stimulus categories. The current study also supported the untested assumption that the shape contained within the female waist-to-hip ratio, in addition to the actual ratio itself, contributes to male aesthetic preference. Lastly, the current study also found that male preference for female waist-to-hip ratios is not solely determined by male familiarity (as operationalized in the current study by ratings of typicality) with particular female waist-to-hip ratios. This result is inconsistent with Halberstadt and Rhodes (2000), who proposed that aesthetic preference is determined by averageness, a more general feature of the human cognitive system.