Sex Differences for Preferences of Shoulder to Hip Ratio in Men and Women: an Eye Tracking Study

Abstract

Shoulder to hip ratio (SHR) is a sexually dimorphic trait in humans, yet no previous study has investigated the gazing behavior and perceived physical attractiveness of men and women in relation to men and women’s SHRs. Men and women are attentive to men’s upper body and consider higher SHRs as cues to masculinity, strength, and formidability. Moreover, while women’s shoulder width varies from one individual to another, to our knowledge no previous study has investigated perceived attractiveness and eye movement in relation to women’s SHR. Therefore, in the current study, we investigated attractiveness ratings and eye movements of both men and women to front- and back-posed male and female stimuli varying in SHR. Our results showed that men prefer more masculine ratios for men and less masculine ratios for women. However, the results also showed that women preferred an intermediate SHR for both men and women in the back view while their preference in the front view is not influenced by SHR. Eye movements showed that men viewed the chest region of other men in the front and back views of stimuli, and they had longer dwell time on chests of male stimuli with higher SHRs, while no significant difference was found for dwell time on chests of female stimuli varying in SHR. Also, no differences were observed for female participants in dwell time, for either chest regions of SHRs of male stimuli or for the chests of female stimuli. Altogether, the results of this study suggest that men more than women are attentive to variations in SHRs.

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Data Availability

All relevant data are within the paper.

Change history

  • 11 July 2019

    The original version of this article contained a mistake.

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Funding

This study was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education through national funds and co-financed by FEDER through COMPETE2020 under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007653). FP receives funding from FCT Portugal through grant PD/BD/114366/2016. AM receives funding from FCT Portugal through grants PTDC/DTP-EPI/0412/2012 and PEST-C/FIS/UI607/2011. JA receives funding from FCT Portugal through grants PTDC/MHC-PCN/4589/2012 and IF/01298/2014.

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Pazhoohi, F., Garza, R., Doyle, J.F. et al. Sex Differences for Preferences of Shoulder to Hip Ratio in Men and Women: an Eye Tracking Study. Evolutionary Psychological Science 5, 405–415 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-019-00198-w

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Keywords

  • Shoulder to hip ratio
  • SHR
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Eye tracking
  • Sex differences
  • Formidability