Attraction Preferences: The Roles of Waist-to-Hip and Waist-to-Shoulders Ratios and the Effects of Priming Gender

by Ian LaForge
Faculty advisor: Dr. Wind Goodfriend

Previous research investigating attraction preferences has been limited to a focus on biological sex differences. To further examine the influence of gender role salience and sexual orientation in determining what one finds physically attractive, a new device was developed that allows participants to directly manipulate the shape of a digital figure to indicate what body shape they found most attractive. This device was incorporated into a survey that also included a task which primed the gender salience of participants as either masculine or feminine (or a non-primed control). Body shape preferences were measured using the waist-to-hip and waist-to-shoulder ratios indicated as attractive through participants’ manipulation of the digital figure. It was expected that participants would exhibit body shape preferences in alignment with their (a) primed gender condition, (b) their biological sex, and (c) their sexual orientation. The present research hopes to add to the literature by strengthening the findings of previous researchers (e.g., Dixson et al., 2003; Singh & Randall, 2007) who have examined body shape preferences, but without considering the role of psychological gender or sexual orientation. In addition, the new digital measure of attraction preferences may become a powerful and useful tool for future research.