Toronto: Most men still perceive beauty based on the whole physical appearance of women rather than isolated body parts as previously believed, new research has revealed.
Researchers found that attractiveness depends on internal consistency – whether the movement and the shape of the body match each other or not.
“Our visual system is a sensitive lie detector that perceives even the slightest inconsistencies and responds negatively to them,” said psychology professor Nikolaus Troje from Queen’s University in a statement.
Most previous work on attractiveness focused on the effect of isolated features.
The current study demonstrates how important it is that these features fit together well.
During the study, participants were shown schematic point-light displays that depict a person using 15 moving dots.
The representation conveyed both the individual characteristics of a person’s movements and their individual body shape.
Dr Troje’s team isolated these two areas and separately measured the attractiveness of individual movement styles as well as individual body shapes.
The researchers then combined the movement style of one person with the body shapes of another person and collected attractiveness ratings from these “hybrid walkers”.
They found that the “hybrid walkers” are deemed less attractive than predicted by the movement and the shape used to make them.
The results call for re-examination of earlier research that looked at attractiveness in a piece-meal way.
They can also be used to formulate advice to people who are working on improving their own physical appearance.
“What works for one person may not work for another one. If in doubt, just be yourself,” the authors noted.