Differences in attractiveness preferences between observers in low- and high-resource environments in Thailand

Swami, V. and Tovee, M. J. (2007) Differences in attractiveness preferences between observers in low- and high-resource environments in Thailand. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 5 (1). pp. 149-160. ISSN 1789-2082

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Abstract

It has been suggested that certain physical cues can be used to predict mate quality, and that sensitivity to these cues would therefore be adaptive. It follows that in environments where the optimal values for these features differ, attractiveness preferences should also be different. In this study, we show that there are striking differences in attractiveness preferences for female bodies between Thai observers in affluent, industrialised environments as compared to Thai observers in resource-poor, hill tribes. These differences can be explained by different local optima for survival and reproduction in the two environments. In industrialised societies, a high body mass is correlated with low health and low fertility, and the converse is true in rural Thailand. These results suggest that humans have mechanisms for acquiring norms of attractiveness that are highly plastic, and which allow them to adapt to different ecological conditions through learning.

Keywords:physical attractiveness; body mass index; waist-to-hip ratio; Thailand
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C840 Clinical Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:24483
Deposited On:07 Aug 2017 15:05

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