Head - body ratio as a visual cue for stature in people and sculptural art

Mather , George (2010) Head - body ratio as a visual cue for stature in people and sculptural art. Perception, 39 (10). pp. 1390-1395. ISSN 0301-0066

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Head - body ratio as a visual cue for stature in people and sculptural art
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Full text URL: http://www.perceptionweb.com/abstract.cgi?id=p6737

Abstract

Body size is crucial for determining the outcome of competition for resources and mates. Many species use acoustic cues to measure caller body size. Vision is the pre-eminent sense for humans, but visual depth cues are of limited utility in judgments of absolute body size.The reliability of internal body proportion as a potential cue to stature was assessed with a large sample of anthropometric data, and the ratio of head height to body height (HBR) was found to be highly correlated with stature. A psychophysical experiment was carried out to investigate whether the cue actually influences stature judgments. Participants were shown pairs of photo-
graphs of human figures in which HBR had been manipulated systematically, and asked to select the figure that appeared taller. Results showed that figures with a relatively small HBR were con-sistently perceived as taller than figures with a relatively large HBR. Many classical statues such as Michelangelo's David depart from the classical proportions defined in Leonardo's Vitruvian
Man. A supplementary experiment showed that perceived stature in classical statues also depends on HBR. Michelangelo's David was created with the HBR of a man 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) tall.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Body size is crucial for determining the outcome of competition for resources and mates. Many species use acoustic cues to measure caller body size. Vision is the pre-eminent sense for humans, but visual depth cues are of limited utility in judgments of absolute body size.The reliability of internal body proportion as a potential cue to stature was assessed with a large sample of anthropometric data, and the ratio of head height to body height (HBR) was found to be highly correlated with stature. A psychophysical experiment was carried out to investigate whether the cue actually influences stature judgments. Participants were shown pairs of photo- graphs of human figures in which HBR had been manipulated systematically, and asked to select the figure that appeared taller. Results showed that figures with a relatively small HBR were con-sistently perceived as taller than figures with a relatively large HBR. Many classical statues such as Michelangelo's David depart from the classical proportions defined in Leonardo's Vitruvian Man. A supplementary experiment showed that perceived stature in classical statues also depends on HBR. Michelangelo's David was created with the HBR of a man 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) tall.
Keywords:Head - body ratio, HBR
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:4736
Deposited By: Alison Wilson
Deposited On:13 Oct 2011 11:10
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:02

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