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Preferences for body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio do not vary with observer age

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Piers Cornelissen, Dr Martin Tovee


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Several studies have suggested that mate selection strategies alter with age, but the mechanism of this shift in mate strategy is unclear. Two possibilities suggest themselves. The first is that attractiveness preferences themselves alter, compensating for the changing mate value of the observer. Alternatively, the preferences may remain constant with observer age, but an individual may compensate for changes in their own relative attractiveness by consciously targeting different regions of the "attractiveness spectrum" as their own mate value changes. To address this question, we asked 142 Caucasian subjects (aged 18-87 years) to rate 50 photographs of women varying in lower body shape (the waist-hip ratio, or WHR), and overall body mass (body mass index, or BMI). We found no effects of observer age on attractiveness preferences. This suggests that the criteria for attractiveness do not alter with changing observer age, and instead that it is the strategies employed using this information that may change. © 2008 Akadémiai Kiadó.

Publication metadata

Author(s): George HR, Swami V, Cornelissen PL, Tovee MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Evolutionary Psychology

Year: 2008

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Pages: 207-218

ISSN (print): 1789-2082

ISSN (electronic): 1589-7397

Publisher: Akademiai Kiado Rt.


DOI: 10.1556/JEP.6.2008.3.4


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