Fasolt V (2015). Does perceived sociocultural pressure to be thin predict individual differences in women’s preferences for facial adiposity? in ..

Different factors have been proposed to determine the attractiveness of a face, including cues such as symmetry, sexual dimorphism and adiposity. In general, attractiveness seems to be strongly related to perceptions of health; healthier-looking faces are perceived to be more attractive. Nonetheless, attractiveness judgments may also be shaped by cultural factors. In Western countries the current body ideal is thin and sociocultural pressure to be thin (e.g., pressure from the media) reinforces this ideal. Consequently, people who perceive greater sociocultural pressure to be thin may show stronger preferences for individuals displaying cues to low levels of adiposity. The current study investigated this issue, finding a significant relationship between preference for facial cues of low levels of adiposity and women’s scores on the Perceived Sociocultural Pressure Scale. In other words, women who perceived themselves to be under greater sociocultural pressure to be thin showed stronger preferences for thin individuals. Intriguingly, this pattern of results was not affected by the sex of the face judged, suggesting sociocultural pressure to be thin could influence partner choices for both platonic and romantic relationships.

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