The influence of body composition on social judgements
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
Altmetrics DOI Statistics
Body Mass Index (BMI; weight scaled by squared height) is a crucial determinant of physical attractiveness, potentially because BMI signals mate value. Yet, BMI does not contain information about body composition, namely fat and muscle, which might be a better indication of mate value. The current thesis explored the potential influence of body composition on attractiveness and other social judgements. Study 1 investigated the influence of facial correlates of body composition on perceived male facial masculinity. Facial correlates of muscle consistently enhanced facial masculinity, whereas facial correlates of fat increased masculinity perception in underweight to normal-weight men only. Study 2 investigated women’s preferences for facial correlates of body composition in short- and long-term relationships. Women have stronger preferences for facial correlates of muscle in short- compared to long-term relationships, while no discrepancy was observed in preferences for facial correlates of fat. Study 3 investigated how body composition influences health and kindness judgements from male faces. Perceived health increased with increasing fat and muscle from underweight to normal-weight men but decreased with further increases in fat and muscle. Increase in facial correlates of muscle dramatically diminished perceived kindness, but facial correlates of fat showed a slight detrimental impact on perceived kindness. Study 4 investigated whether men and women have accurate perceptions of opposite- sex preferences for body shape. Women exaggerated the thinness that men prefer; men exaggerated the heaviness and muscularity that women prefer. Moreover, these misperceptions were larger for short- compared to long-term relationships. The thesis demonstrates the distinct effects of fat and muscle on social judgements and reveals that men and women misperceive opposite-sex preferences. These findings point out the importance of distinguishing body composition of studies of body size.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Description of related resourcesThe influence of body composition on social judgements (thesis data) Lei, X. University of St Andrews, 2021. https://doi.org/10.17630/aee3f774-a50b-46ea-8135-0f64f7caddaa
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.