The degree to which the cultural ideal is internalized predicts judgments of male and female physical attractiveness

Ridley, Bethany, J. and Cornelissen, Piers, L. and Maalin, Nadia and Mohamed, Sophie and Kramer, Robin, S., S. and McCarty, Kristofor and Tovee, Martin (2022) The degree to which the cultural ideal is internalized predicts judgments of male and female physical attractiveness. Frontiers in Psychology. ISSN 1664-1078

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We used attractiveness judgements as a proxy to visualize the ideal female and male body for male and female participants and investigated how individual differences in the internalization of cultural ideals influence these representations. In the first of two studies, male and female participants judged the attractiveness of 242 male and female computer-generated bodies which varied independently in muscle and adipose. This allowed us to map changes in attractiveness across the complete body composition space, revealing single peaks for the attractiveness of both men and women. In the second study, we asked our participants to choose the most attractive male and female bodies in a method of adjustment task in which they could independently vary muscle and adipose to create the most attractive body. We asked whether individual differences in internalization of cultural ideals, drive for muscularity, eating disorder symptomatology and depressive symptoms could systematically shift the location of peak attractiveness in body composition space. We found a clear preference by both genders for a male body with high muscle and low adipose, and a toned, low adipose female body. The degree of internalization of cultural ideals predicted large individual differences in the composition of the most attractive bodies.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
13 September 2022Accepted
19 October 2022Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: body ideals, body composition, muscularity, adiposity, attractiveness, body fat
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-01 - psychology (non-specific)
CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-04 - psychology and health
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
Depositing User: Nadia Maalin
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2022 14:04
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2022 14:04

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