The relative importance of the face and body in judgments of human physical attractiveness

Thomas E. Currie, Anthony C. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A number of traits have been proposed to be important in human mate choice decisions. However, relatively little work has been conducted to determine the relative importance of these traits. In this study, we assessed the relative importance of the face and body in judgments of human physical attractiveness. One hundred twenty-seven men and 133 women were shown images of 10 individuals of the opposite sex. Participants rated the images for their attractiveness for either a short-term relationship or a long-term relationship. Images of the face and the body were rated independently before participants were shown and asked to rate the combined face and body images. Face ratings were found to be the best predictor of the ratings of combined images for both sexes and for both relationship types. Females showed no difference in ratings between short- and long-term conditions, but male ratings of female bodies became relatively more important for a short-term relationship compared with a long-term relationship. Results suggest that faces and bodies may be signaling different information about potential mates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Bodies
  • Evolution
  • Facial attractiveness
  • Multiple cues
  • Preferences
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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