Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Perceived Attractiveness Driven By Link Between Gender And Gender-specific Roles

Date:
March 13, 2007
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Perceived attractiveness is the result of compatibility of biological sex and gendered cues -- masculinity and femininity as specified within the society -- according to a study by researchers at New York University and Texas A & M University. The findings appear in the most recent issue of the journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Perceived attractiveness is the result of compatibility of biological sex and gendered cues--masculinity and femininity as specified within the society--according to a study by researchers at New York University and Texas A & M University. The findings appear in the most recent issue of the journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted by Kerri Johnson at NYU's Department of Psychology and Louis Tassinary at Texas A & M's Department of Architecture, sought to address the following question: Is perceived attractiveness the result of the compatibility of biological sex and gendered cues (i.e., masculinity and femininity as specified within the society)?

"These findings bolster our understanding of how and why the body is perceived attractive," said Johnson. "Body cues bring about the basic social perceptions of sex and gender, and the compatibility of those basic percepts affects perceived attractiveness."

Previous research on western societies has shown how the body's shape (i.e., the waist-to-hip ratio--WHR) relates to judgments of women's attractiveness. Compared to "tubular" figures, "hourglass" figures tended to be judged more favorably in western societies.

In this study, the researchers hypothesized that perceived attractiveness would depend on the compatibility of basic social perceptions that arise from sexually dimorphic (i.e., external differences between males and females) body cues. Specifically, they posited that some body cues will reliably provoke a sex categorization. Once this categorization has been made, other sexually dimorphic cues will be perceived to be either masculine or feminine - and consequently compatible or incompatible given the perceived sex of a target. If correct, when a target is judged to be female, she should be judged attractive when also perceived to be feminine, but not masculine, and vice-versa when a target is judged to be male.

The researchers conducted five studies in which participants viewed a variety of stimuli (computer-generated animations, static line drawings, and dynamic line-drawings) and then provided a range of judgments for each--a sex categorization and ratings of perceived masculinity, femininity, and attractiveness.

Although the sex of each target was specified differently across the five studies (judged by participants, provided by the experimenter, or held constant in the stimuli), Johnson and Tassinary predicted that perceived sex would influence the perception of other sexually dimorphic cues--leading the other gendered cues to be perceived as either masculine or feminine, rather than as an indicator of sex category.

The results across the five studies revealed the predicted interaction between the sex and perceived gender. That is, female targets--whether sex was judged by participants, provided by an experimenter, or held constant--were judged to be more attractive when they were perceived to be feminine than when they were perceived to be masculine, and the opposite was true for male targets.

The researchers suggest that if their model is applied to cultures with different definitions for the social roles of men and women, results will show cross-cultural differences in the particular combinations of body cues deemed attractive.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York University. "Perceived Attractiveness Driven By Link Between Gender And Gender-specific Roles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312231757.htm>.
New York University. (2007, March 13). Perceived Attractiveness Driven By Link Between Gender And Gender-specific Roles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312231757.htm
New York University. "Perceived Attractiveness Driven By Link Between Gender And Gender-specific Roles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070312231757.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins