Contributions of the face and body to overall attractiveness

Marianne Peters, Gillian Rhodes, Leigh Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Faces and bodies are thought to be signals of mate quality in humans. Most research on attractiveness has focused on faces or bodies separately, whereas our preferences have evolved based on both seen together. A fundamental requirement of studying face and body attractiveness independently is that there is no interaction between the two. This study is the. rst to investigate whether the interaction between rated attractiveness of the face and the body predicted ratings of overall attractiveness. We found that the face and body did not interact when an overall attractiveness judgement was made. We also investigated the independent contributions of rated attractiveness of the face and the body to ratings of overall attractiveness. Face and body attractiveness each made significant independent contributions to overall attractiveness in males and females. For both sexes, face attractiveness predicted overall attractiveness more strongly than did body attractiveness, and this difference was signi. cant in males. The contributions of components of face and body attractiveness (symmetry, sexual dimorphism and averageness) to overall attractiveness were also examined using principal components analysis. A component associated with attractive traits in the male face, and in females both a face and body component, significantly predicted overall attractiveness. Our results validate the assumption that studying faces and bodies separately in the context of mate choice will produce biologically meaningful results and suggest that face and body attractiveness may convey potentially independent signals about an individual's mate quality. (C) 2007 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-942
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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