ThomasQuinn - Aug 26, 2015

"This contrasted the predictions of the mathematical 'fitness' model that there should be a peak in attractiveness around a BMI of 24 to 24.8"

So they really thought that the most physically attractive body would be that of a person bordering on obesity? Seriously? And they think a NORMAL, HEALTHY bmi is "extreme thinness"?!!

As if this wasn't weird enough, they also draw non-sequitur conclusions. Observers thought fat people were older than skinny people, therefore thinner people are deemed more attractive because they look younger, which is the evolutionary reason for this preference? I don't see how you can reasonably draw that conclusion from the data. Sounds like imposing preconceived ideas on the data to me.

ogg_ogg - Aug 26, 2015

After it crashes and burns, they found one factor was due to not including age. I guess they've made the AMAZING discovery that, on average, women past their peak reproductive success age (low-mid-20's) are less "attractive"! wow! My model predicts no Nobel Prize in their future. I wonder if PeerJ only uses reviewers named "Professor x Expert". (x = A.,B.,...) That IS the correct way to do Science, right? The actual conclusion is that a model which includes age is better than one without for predicting attractiveness. Who knew?

Eikka - Aug 26, 2015

As if this wasn't weird enough, they also draw non-sequitur conclusions. Observers thought fat people were older than skinny people, therefore thinner people are deemed more attractive because they look younger


That wasn't a conclusion they made.

They made parallel observations: people thought thin people were more attractive, and they also thought the fat people look older. Therefore the inference is that young people look more attractive, rather than people look attractive because they appear to be young.

EWH - Aug 26, 2015

Some women of size are going to get their knockers in a twist over this, mark my words. The very idea that men would get to decide what they find attractive is problematic for some of them. The idea that it is a built-in evolutionary program is even worse. The implication that they are objectively evolutionarily less fit than other women sends them to the fainting-couch.
No, obviously the cis-het-male patriarchal construction of standards of beauty is the problem.

Squirrel - Aug 27, 2015

Fat women in nonwestern societies are usually considered more attractive than thin ones--but there is an evolutionary psychological explanation for this--attractiveness adjusts if exposed to famine caused thinness (something that once was the norm). But EP explanations can be made in any direction you want.

hmdas - Aug 27, 2015

"This might suggest there is an optimum level of fatness that is maximally attractive which is somewhere in between."

That part is a little too much trivial. So now, the scientists have built a model which incorporates these factors(survival and ability to reproduce) plus youth that gives an optimum number for the BMI. I can understand that part, too.

But comparing this number with the opinion of people (which in itself is a result of many factors and varies among different generations) and concluding that the age was the result of the discrepancy is way too much simple-­minded. Are we to believe that we now understand all factors important for attractiveness?

Say for example, I find one more factor which is important for attractiveness (which I don't find very hard to find). Then the model would produce a different number and this makes this whole work worthless.

Science used to be more than that.

Eikka - Aug 27, 2015

Say for example, I find one more factor


There's a more generalized criticism over these kinds of studies, which is that concentrating on a single factor creates the illusion of importance. However, this is not a problem of the study, but a problem of the reader.

The example scenario is to ask people who are about to buy a car to rate cars according to how fast the electric windows wind up. Obviously the fastest is the best, so the experiment concludes that people would prefer a car with faster electric windows - when in reality people don't necessarily pay any attention to that detail when actually buying a car.

In this study we're looking at a narrow selection of features in isolation from the rest, which reveals some information about those particular factors but does not disclose their importance relative to the whole deal.

So you should really avoid over-interpreting and over-applying the results of the study.

docile - Aug 27, 2015

'Evolutionary fitness' key in determining why some females more physically attractive than others
This doesn't explain, why so many women aren't so attractive, as the multimedia present. Apparently their lower physical fitness must be balanced with another factors. In my understanding the beauty women may be more physically fit in average, but their descendants are also more prone to cancers, mutations (their beauty mark indicates it clearly) or mental diseases. For the children the combination of thin women and fat man can be more stable genetically. Which also explains, why so many pretty women get attracted to surprisingly "bad boys" from bottom of society or quite ugly fat guys - but rich ones.

docile - Aug 27, 2015

There is also well known connection of endiometriosis to beauty factor. The pretty people tend to parthenogenesis and asexual life style - not just psychologically, but also biologically. Their genotype is already close ideal, so that the further breeding would only dissolve their genes. The ugly women and men have no such a problem with sex at all - on the contrary. They can only improve their fitness with it. In this way the proportion of stable but boring and exceptional but unstable genomes maintains itself at constant value inside the population.

docile - Aug 27, 2015

Speaking of beauty, why we're forced to watch this counterexample in ads all the time here? Apparently the marketing staff wants to convince the PO visitors for usage of AdBlocker at all cost...

EWH - Aug 27, 2015

Docile, that a small sample of women with severe endometriosis are nearly 4x more likely to be attractive does not show that more attractive women are at higher risk for endometriosis. Your other attempted points are without evidence, and likely wrong.

malapropism - Aug 27, 2015

The pretty people tend to parthenogenesis and asexual life style - not just psychologically, but also biologically.

Hmm, fascinating. I trained in genetics and I'm not aware of parthenogenesis occurring in humans having been reported in any of the literature, outside of some frankly dubious claims in religious texts, that is. I'd love to read your references for this.

verkle - Aug 27, 2015

On the other hand, in the past fatter people might have had greater abilities to survive famines, making fatness more attractive...


What kind of skewed logic is this?

This article is so sexist, and focus solely on physical attractiveness.
What it totally left out is attractiveness based on character and true love.
These are more important for a long-term relationship than anything physical.

Captain Stumpy - Aug 28, 2015

The pretty people tend to parthenogenesis and asexual life style - not just psychologically, but also biologically.
Hmm, fascinating. I trained in genetics and I'm not aware of parthenogenesis occurring in humans having been reported in any of the literature, outside of some frankly dubious claims in religious texts, that is. I'd love to read your references for this.
@Mal
good luck with that... you're asking zephir to give you evidence. you know what that means? he still believes in aether theory and says we don't investigate cold fusion because of a worldwide conspiracy... and all that without getting into hot topics like Climate Change!

i suggest beefing up your internet security, anti-virus and also using an anonymizer before using ANY link he gives you...
and i also suggest using a computer from someone you don't like too, just to be safe

docile - Aug 28, 2015

we don't investigate cold fusion because of a worldwide conspiracy
I'd rather say, worldwide stupidity and greed of researchers, who fear for their money and social position in existing research. The "conspiracy" is too noble & misleading word for such a silly attitude, as it considers some collective intelligence.
i suggest beefing up your internet security, anti-virus and also using an anonymizer
This is what the demonizing of enemy is called, IMO Russians do it better.

mbee1 - Aug 31, 2015

Another study which turns the truth on its head. Look at women, the married are fatter on average, the older are fatter, the ones with kids are fatter. There has to be a reason since fatter is true both today and in the past. Look at all those medieval painting of women, fatter not thinner. Thinner is the way to attract a mate, most likely for the reason stated in the study. What happens if the women remains attractive? Death, destruction and no kids living to adult hood as the males fight for possession. How does the female solve this problem? She gets fat, any female who did not dies or her kids die which is the same thing.

EnricM - Aug 31, 2015

I don't see how you can reasonably draw that conclusion from the data. Sounds like imposing preconceived ideas on the data to me.


Agree.

This sort of "studies" always beg the question on why and how the cultural preferences of white US American males and females would be either be genetically or "evolutionary" coded.

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