Judging the difference between attractiveness and health: does exposure to model images influence the judgments made by men and women?

Stephen, I.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-9714-8295 and Perera, A.T.-M. ORCID: 0000-0002-3812-5023, 2014. Judging the difference between attractiveness and health: does exposure to model images influence the judgments made by men and women? PLoS ONE, 9 (1): e86302. ISSN 1932-6203

1303513_Perera.pdf - Published version

Download (1MB) | Preview


Recent research has shown facial adiposity (apparent weight in the face) to be a significant predictor of both attractiveness and health, thus making it an important determinant of mate selection. Studies looking at the relationship between attractiveness and health have shown that individuals differentiate between the two by preferring a lower weight for attractiveness than for health in female faces. However, these studies have either been correlational studies, or have investigated weight perceived from only the face. These differences have been discussed with regard to sociocultural factors such as pressure from parents, peers and also media, which has been seen to have the highest influence. While exposure to media images has been shown to influence women’s own body image, no study has yet directly tested the influence of these factors on people’s preferred weight in other women’s bodies. Here we examine how a short exposure to images of models influences men’s and women’s judgments of the most healthy looking and attractive BMI in Malaysian Chinese women’s bodies by comparing differences in preferences (for attractiveness and health) between groups exposed to images of models of varying attractiveness and body weight. Results indicated that participants preferred a lower weight for attractiveness than for health. Further, women’s but not men’s preferred BMI for attractiveness, but not health, was influenced by the type of media images to which they were exposed, suggesting that short term exposure to model images affect women’s perceptions of attractiveness but not health.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Creators: Stephen, I.D. and Perera, A.T.-M.
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Date: 20 January 2014
Volume: 9
Number: 1
ISSN: 1932-6203
Rights: Copyright: © 2014 Stephen, Perera. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 10 Mar 2020 14:03
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 09:11
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/39377

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year