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

Swami, Viren and Tovee, Martin J. (2007) Differences in attractiveness preferences between observers in low- and high-resource environments in Thailand. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 5 (1-4). pp. 149-160. ISSN 1589-7397

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/JEP.2007.1005

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.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:9681
Deposited On:14 Sep 2011 10:35
Last Modified:14 Sep 2011 10:35

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