ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

The leg-to-body ratio (LBR) is a morphological index that has been shown to influence a person’s attractiveness. In our research, 3,103 participants from 27 nations rated the physical attractiveness of seven male and seven female silhouettes varying in LBR. We found that male and female silhouettes with short and excessively long legs were perceived as less attractive across all nations. Hence, the LBR may significantly influence perceptions of physical attractiveness across nations.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0022022110392229
2011 42: 131Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Nachiketa Tripathi and Tzu Fang
Patil, Wanda Schell, Hasmig Serpekian, Borislav Slavchev, Stanislava Stoyanova, Meri Tadinac,
Khadijeh Moradi, Bojan Musil, Sonia Nongmaithem, Ekundayo Oladipo, Ojedokun Oluyinka, Kanak
Frichand, Evrim Gulbetekin, Ivana Hromatko, Tina Javahishvili, Anna Jgenti, Sandi Kartasasmita,
Chavez, Cecilia Cheng, Ioana Cristea, Daniel David, Seda Dural, Anna Dzieciol, Sofian Fauzee, Ana
Blazevska-Stoilkovska, Veronica Casellas, Hakan Cetinkaya, Berenice Lopez Coutino, Maria
Fabrykant, Kiumars Zarafshani, Manochehr Amiri, Saeideh Bazzazian, Biljana
Piotr Sorokowski, Andrzej Szmajke, Agnieszka Sorokowska, Maryann Borg Cunen, Marharyta
Attractiveness of Leg Length: Report From 27 Nations
Published by:
On behalf of:
International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology
can be found at:Journal of Cross-Cultural PsychologyAdditional services and information for Alerts:
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
42(1) 131 –139
© The Author(s) 2011
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0022022110392229
Attractiveness of
Leg Length: Report
From 27 Nations
Piotr Sorokowski
, Andrzej Szmajke
Agnieszka Sorokowska
, Maryann Borg Cunen
Marharyta Fabrykant
, Kiumars Zarafshani
Manochehr Amiri
, Saeideh Bazzazian
Biljana Blazevska-Stoilkovska
, Veronica Casellas
Hakan Cetinkaya
, Berenice Lopez Coutino
, Maria Chavez
Cecilia Cheng
, Ioana Cristea
, Daniel David
, Seda Dural
Anna Dzie˛cioł
, Sofian Fauzee
, Ana Frichand
Evrim Gulbetekin
, Ivana Hromatko
, Tina Javahishvili
Anna Jgenti
, Sandi Kartasasmita
, Khadijeh Moradi
Bojan Musil
, Sonia Nongmaithem
, Ekundayo Oladipo
Ojedokun Oluyinka
, Kanak Patil
, Wanda Schell
Hasmig Serpekian
, Borislav Slavchev
, Stanislava Stoyanova
Meri Tadinac
, Nachiketa Tripathi
, and Tzu Fang
The leg-to-body ratio (LBR) is a morphological index that has been shown to influence a
person’s attractiveness. In our research, 3,103 participants from 27 nations rated the physical
attractiveness of seven male and seven female silhouettes varying in LBR. We found that male and
female silhouettes with short and excessively long legs were perceived as less attractive across
all nations. Hence, the LBR may significantly influence perceptions of physical attractiveness
across nations.
physical attractiveness, leg-to-body ratio, cross-national, aesthetic judgments
The attractiveness of the human body is related to such morphological traits as weight, height,
and body shape (review: Pawlowski, 2000). Another morphological feature that may influence
judgments of attractiveness is the leg-to-body ratio (LBR). It has been shown that people per-
ceived a relatively high LBR as attractive in women (Bertamini & Bennett, 2009; Rilling et al.,
2009; Sorokowski & Pawlowski, 2008; Swami, Einon, & Furnham, 2006; but see also Frederick,
Hadji-Michael, Furnham, & Swami, 2010), whereas in the case of men, results have been
ambiguous—either low (Swami et al., 2006) or relatively high LBR (Bertamini & Bennett, 2009;
Sorokowski & Pawlowski, 2008) has been perceived as attractive.
Such phenomena were explained in adaptive terms such as the following: (a) Relative leg length
might be a credible indicator of health status (e.g., Davey Smith et al., 2001) and individual early
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
132 Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 42(1)
childhood environmental influences (illnesses, malnutrition) (e.g., Wadsworth, Hardy, Paul, Marshall,
& Cole, 2002); (b) short legs in women might be a sign of lower reproductive capabilities (Fielding
et al., 2008); (c) leg length might be an indicator of biomechanical efficacy (e.g., due to running
or swimming ability; e.g., Cavanagh & Kram, 1989) that were important during human evolution.
Results of these studies might suggest that rather high LBR should be attractive, for it is a marker
of an individual’s biological quality.
To date, it has only been shown how the LBR influences attractiveness judgments in the United
Kingdom (Bertamini & Bennett, 2009; Swami et al., 2006), Poland (Sorokowski & Pawlowski,
2008), the United States (Frederick et al., 2010; Rilling et al., 2009), and Malaysia (Swami,
Einon, & Furnham, 2007). The main purpose of our study was to investigate the impact of the
LBR on attractiveness in a much wider range of countries than what has been previously docu-
mented. This would enable researchers to examine whether perceptions of LBR are relatively simi-
lar or dissimilar in different national contexts.
The research reported in this article is a result of a collaborative effort made by researchers from
27 regions across five continents (see Table 1). A total of 3,103 participants (1,532 females and
1,571 males) participated in this joint study. Information about some demographic variables
(religion, sample background type, and language) were taken only for a national group as a whole.
The majority of our sample consisted of students from urban areas (age: M = 22.05, SD = 5.52).
University of Wroclaw, Institute of Psychology
University of Malta
Belarusian State University
Razi University
Islamic Azad University
University “Sts. Cyril and Methodius”
University of Puerto Rico
Izmir University of Economics
University of Guadalajara
Independent scholar
University of Hong Kong
Babes-Bolyai University
zmir University
University of Glasgow
University Putra Malaysia
University of Zagreb
Tbilisi State University
Tarumanagara University
University of Maribor
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
Tai Solarin University of Education
Lead City University
University of Pune
University of Jordan
South-West University Neofit Rilski
University in Taiwan
Corresponding Author:
Piotr Sorokowski, University of Wroclaw, Dawida 1, Wroclaw 50-527 Poland.
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Table 1. Attractiveness Scores for Men and Women Silhouettes with Different Leg Length
Female Silhouettes Male Silhouettes
LBR .438 LBR .464 LBR .489 LBR .515 LBR .541 LBR .567 LBR .592 LBR .438 LBR .464 LBR .489 LBR .515 LBR .541 LBR .567 LBR .592
Europe and
M 1.67a 2.54b 3.81d 5.05f 5.26g 4.41e 3.19c 1.61a 2.33b 3.57d 4.87f 5.34g 4.37e 2.99c
SD 1.06 1.26 1.44 1.45 1.48 1.84 1.97 1.12 1.34 1.55 1.54 1.49 1.74 1.85
Belarus M 1.85f 2.7e 4.03c 5.33a 5.49a 4.8b 3.56d 2.04f 2.64e 4.21c 5.22a 5.32a 4.57b 3.3d
SD 1.38 1.25 1.52 1.40 1.38 1.68 1.85 1.51 1.37 1.55 1.61 1.56 1.86 1.73
Bulgaria M 1.37i 2.13h 3.31f 4.78c 5.13ab 4.89bc 3.67e 1.41i 1.91h 3.04g 4.50d 5.24a 4.81c 3.53ef
SD 0.78 1.35 1.46 1.60 1.64 1.98 2.28 0.98 1.16 1.79 1.65 1.64 1.76 2.10
Croatia M 1.61i 2.34g 3.88d 5.63a 5.63a 4.00cd 2.68f 1.34j 1.93h 3.28e 4.93b 5.47a 4.13c 2.63f
SD 1.04 1.18 1.51 1.37 1.23 1.81 1.75 0.68 1.05 1.50 1.62 1.47 1.80 1.68
Czech M 1.92j 2.53gh 3.48e 4.85ab 4.96ab 4.49c 3.22f 2.06ij 2.29hi 3.95d 4.88ab 5.05a 4.26cd 3.1f
SD 1.21 1.12 1.32 1.30 1.42 1.69 1.77 1.31 1.39 1.43 1.52 1.45 1.6 1.78
Germany M 1.84g 2.74e 3.96c 5.08a 5.15a 4.37b 3.30d 2.14f 2.78e 3.90c 5.00a 5.07a 4.05bc 2.83e
SD 1.24 1.27 1.32 1.31 1.32 1.92 1.98 1.49 1.45 1.37 1.48 1.57 1.80 1.75
Macedonia M 1.90h 2.56g 3.49e 4.61c 4.99b 4.46c 3.35e 1.15i 1.73h 3.08f 4.48c 5.31a 4.13d 2.61g
SD 1.0 1.15 1.20 1.38 1.47 1.62 2.14 0.38 0.72 1.22 1.31 1.32 1.56 1.74
Malta M 2.15e 3.20d 4.30c 4.87b 5.05ab 4.19c 3.12d 2.12e 3.00d 4.15c 5.19ab 5.35a 4.43c 3.18d
SD 1.75 1.68 1.53 1.69 1.84 1.82 2.14 1.65 1.51 1.72 1.61 1.49 1.88 2.08
Poland M 1.77j 2.66i 3.48ef 4.13d 4.93b 4.35d 3.13gh 1.94 2.89hi 3.59e 4.66c 5.39a 4.75bc 3.30fg
SD 1.00 1.08 1.25 1.24 1.57 1.75 1.71 1.23 1.44 1.31 1.37 1.28 1.41 1.79
Romania M 1.51h 2.57g 4.08d 5.56a 5.66a 4.57c 3.04e 1.67h 2.63fg 3.84d 5.12b 5.48a 4.41c 2.92ef
SD 0.98 1.26 1.50 1.23 1.24 1.74 1.90 1.05 1.70 1.73 1.56 1.34 1.76 1.97
M 2.11i 3.09f 4.38c 5.37a 4.9b 3.84d 2.76h 2.31i 3.06fg 4.22c 4.96b 4.76b 3.51e 2.3i
SD 1.28 1.42 1.38 1.31 1.33 1.68 1.78 1.58 1.60 1.45 1.53 1.62 1.58 1.44
Slovenia M 1.6g 2.78e 4.55c 5.84a 5.32b 3.51d 2.46f
1.61g 2.54ef 4.3c 5.43b 5.53ab 3.78d 2.37f
SD 1.07 1.40 1.72 1.20 1.62 1.79 1.62 0.94 1.33 1.50 1.53 1.67 1.69 1.46
Spain M 1.34i 2.23h 3.99e 5.59b 5.93a 4.52d 3.06g 1.29i 1.98h 3.45f 5.30b 6.01a 4.83c 3.25fg
SD 0.74 1.05 1.29 1.27 1.22 1.87 1.81 0.70 1.08 1.40 1.50 1.04 1.81 1.85
Canada M 2.02h 2.98f 4.31c 5.26a 4.89b 3.64de 2.56g 2.04h 3.03f 3.96d 4.76b 4.31c 3.3ef 2.51g
SD 1.29 1.53 1.49 1.53 1.53 1.89 1.94 1.6 1.67 1.81 1.8 1.92 1.88 1.99
Africa M 2.21b 2.94c 3.91e 4.66f 4.91g 4.31ef 3.49d 1.6a 2.11b 3.42d 4.30ef 5.08g 4.41ef 3.48d
SD 1.60 1.65 1.71 1.79 1.78 1.97 2.32 1.51 1.60 1.80 1.82 1.64 1.92 2.35
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Table 1. (continued)
Female Silhouettes Male Silhouettes
LBR .438 LBR .464 LBR .489 LBR .515 LBR .541 LBR .567 LBR .592 LBR .438 LBR .464 LBR .489 LBR .515 LBR .541 LBR .567 LBR .592
Nigeria M 2.49f 3.27e 4.27c 4.71ab 4.84a 4.17c 3.63de 1.87g 2.43f 3.68d 4.45bc 4.89a 4.66ab 4.26c
SD 1.18 1.42 1.69 1.68 1.51 1.92 2.26 1.11 1.44 1.64 1.75 1.56 1.75 1.88
Tunisia M 1.90h 2.56g 3.49e 4.61c 4.99b 4.46c 3.35ef 1.25i 1.73h 3.08f 4.48bc 5.31a 4.13d 2.61g
SD 1.22 1.37 1.55 1.68 1.81 1.9 2.27 0.86 1.12 1.42 1.55 1.54 1.57 1.96
Asia M 1.87a 2.67b 3.74d 5.07g 5.14g 4.07e 3.02c 1.80a 2.44b 3.50d 4.68f 5.04g 4.42e 3.22c
SD 1.26 1.37 1.52 1.57 1.54 1.85 1.95 1.28 1.39 1.58 1.64 1.54 1.86 1.98
Georgia M 1.25i 1.76h 2.78f 4.09d 5.15ab 5.23a 4.09d 1.23i 1.5i 2.21g 3.55e 4.54c 4.96b 3.98d
SD 0.60 0.88 1.20 1.42 1.39 1.61 1.96 0.81 0.93 1.11 1.41 1.45 1.74 2.03
Hong Kong M 2.71e 3.31d 4.08b 4.63a 4.55a 3.9bc 2.73e 2.63e 3.09d 3.76c 4.56a 4.54a 3.72c 2.76e
SD 1.16 1.17 1.32 1.20 1.42 1.49 1.29 1.13 1.08 1.12 1.16 1.13 1.20 1.24
India M 1.72h 2.56f 3.84d 5.51a 5.16b 3.79d 2.52f 1.62h 2.17g 3.38e 4.74c 5.37ab 4.49c 3.14e
SD 1.51 1.53 1.84 1.71 1.82 2.03 2.02 1.40 1.48 1.74 1.99 1.75 2.02 2.14
Indonesia M 1.82f 3.08e 3.68d 5.08ab 5.33a 4.57c 4.38c 2.2f 2.88e 4.41c 5.15ab 4.78bc 4.81bc 3.77d
SD 1.26 1.54 1.75 1.86 1.54 1.55 1.97 1.45 1.63 1.78 1.79 1.71 1.60 2.04
Iran M 2.21h 3.01f 4.17d 5.35a 5.19ab 3.95d 2.71g 1.73i 2.62g 3.61e 5.09b 5.33ab 4.8c 3.47e
SD 1.51 1.33 1.37 1.44 1.41 1.96 1.92 1.33 1.35 1.38 1.45 1.45 1.96 2.04
Jordan M 1.44i 2.9g 4.38d 5.97a 5.74a 4.25de 2.64g 1.79h 3.3f 4.77c 5.84a 5.34b 3.96e 2.1h
SD 0.79 1.32 1.36 1.13 1.24 1.85 1.82 1.29 1.49 1.46 1.28 1.47 1.76 1.50
Malaysia M 1.51ij 2.07h 3.1f 5.44b 5.81a 4.58c 3.66e 1.37j 1.78hi 2.56g 4.44cd 5.81a 5.34b 4.25d
SD 0.93 1.43 1.39 1.45 1.42 1.79 2.00 0.94 1.02 1.28 1.78 1.26 1.90 1.99
Taiwan M 2.87g 3.26f 4.07d 4.73bc 5.11a 4.85ab 4.01d 2.70g 3.00fg 3.71e 4.52c 5.07a 4.64bc 3.69e
SD 1.15 1.01 0.97 1.05 1.11 1.43 1.58 1.42 1.34 1.35 1.21 1.09 1.36 1.59
Turkey M 1.83f 2.55de 3.47c 4.45a 4.60a 3.34c 2.73d 1.81f
2.39e 3.45c 4.14
b 4.40
ab 3.63c 2.69d
SD 0.99 1.30 1.47 1.55 1.56 1.60 1.76 1.19 1.20 1.49 1.36 1.52 1.78 1.85
M 2.0 a 3.11c 4.38ef 5.11g 4.89g 3.57d 2.58b 2.12a 3.18c 3.95e 4.88g 4.58f 3.49d 2.59b
SD 1.66 1.61 1.77 1.78 1.79 1.76 2.00 1.73 1.71 1.78 1.99 1.96 1.80 2.01
Argentina M 2.02g 3.04e 3.36e 5.11a 4.83bc 3.29e 2.52f 2.08g 3.12e 3.82d 4.96ab 4.45c 3.36e 2.61f
SD 1.66 1.45 1.73 1.7 1.74 1.72 1.96 1.66 1.64 1.65 1.8 1.88 1.85 2.02
Mexico M 1.78f 2.73e 3.80c 4.56a 4.24ab 3.24d 2.46e 1.86f 2.57e 3.23d 4.15bc 4.08bc 3.17d 2.67e
SD 1.52 1.79 1.99 1.91 1.94 1.93 2.01 1.65 1.84 1.89 2.03 1.81 1.99 2.19
M 2.18g 3.37e 4.81bc 5.55a 5.39a 3.81d 2.59f 2.39fg 3.70de 4.60c 5.58a 5.02b 3.83d 2.55f
SD 1.79 1.36 1.45 1.52 1.59 1.58 1.95 1.84 1.4 1.39 1.65 1.89 1.57 1.94
a,b,c… = average values without common letters marking are different when p < .05 (at least); (post hoc LSD Fisher tests), those analyses were conducted on data from separate
countries. The highest means are marked in bold.
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Sorokowski et al. 135
We did not ask about the sexual orientation of the participants. LBR (the method of assessment
can be found in Dangoury, Schilg, Hulse, & Cole, 2002), height, and weight of participants were
measured. Participants were not remunerated for their contribution to the research. Further
details on sampling methods within each nation are available from the authors.
In this study, we used 7 male and 7 female stimuli (the original picture—LBR = .515, pictures
with legs elongated by 5%—LBR = .541, 10%—LBR = .567, and 15%—LBR = .592 and pic-
tures with legs shortened by 5%—LBR = .489, 10%—LBR = .464, and 15%—LBR = .438). The
pictures were taken from a study conducted by Sorokowski and Pawlowski (2008).
The participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of silhouettes using a 7-point scale
(“Please assess the attractiveness of each of these silhouettes on a 1-7 scale” ranging from 1 = I
do not like it to 7 = I like it very much; this question targets participants’ preferences, whereas if
they were asked about the attractiveness, it could have been understood as regarding the general
attractiveness patterns—as shown on television, in magazines, etc.). The silhouettes were pre-
sented individually, randomly, and for as long as each participant needed in order to make an
assessment on the paper-and-pencil questionnaire. The participants were informed of the manip-
ulated leg length of the stimuli. All instructions were presented in the native language of the
Effects of Nationality on Participants’ Age and LBR
Differences in participants’ age and LBR between the groups from various countries were inves-
tigated. One-way ANOVAs showed that examined populations differed both in case of the LBR,
F(3, 3,099) = 170.8, p < .0001, ŋ
= .15, and age, F(3, 3,099) = 93.2, p < .0001, ŋ
= .08 of the
Effects of Participants’ Age and LBR on Their LBR Preferences
Because of the relation described above, correlations of participants’ age and their LBR on each
silhouette’s assessment was computed (separately for male and female silhouettes). That analy-
sis showed that the participants’ LBR did not correlate significantly with assessments of any
male or female silhouette (all r from .00 to .03, all ps > .05). Age, however, proved to correlate
significantly with assessments of female stimuli, with LBR = .438 (r = -.04, p = .01), LBR = .464
(r = -.08, p < .001), LBR = .489 (r = -.12, p < .001), LBR = .515 (r = -.04, p = .02), LBR = .541
(r = .06, p = .002), LBR = .567 (r = .1, p < .001), LBR = .592 (r = .12, p < .001), and of male
stimuli, with LBR = .438 (r = -.07, p < .001), LBR = .464 (r = -.12, p < .001), LBR = .489
(r = -.11, p < .001), LBR = .515 (r = -.07, p < .001), LBR = .541 (r = .04, p = .047), LBR = .567
(r = .14, p < .001), and LBR = .592 (r = .16, p < .001). Each correlation was calculated for 3,103
participants. The described correlation shows that in general older participants preferred higher
Effects of Participants’ Nationality and Gender on LBR Preferences
To present the results more clearly, we divided all the nations on four regions (continents): Europe
and Canada (as Western culture) and Africa, Asia, and Latin America (in Table 1 exact differences
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
136 Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 42(1)
between assessments of male and female stimuli in particular populations are shown). To test the
effect of region and gender of participants on attractiveness assessments of different stimuli,
Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) was used. Design of this study was a
4 (Continent) × 2 (Participant Sex) × 2 (Stimuli Sex) × 7 (Stimuli LBR) with participants’ age
and LBR as covariates, stimuli sex and stimuli LBR as a within-subject variables, and both con-
tinent and participants’ sex as a between-subjects variable.
Additive influence of covariates participants’ LBR and age on assessments of silhouettes’
attractiveness proved to be significant, F(28, 6,358) = 4.32, p < .0001; Wilks’s Lambda = .962.
However, conducting analysis of covariance enables one to exclude the influence of covariates
on the obtained results. All remaining main and interaction effects are presented in Table 2. All
main effects were significant, but except for “stimuli LBR,” they were very weak (all ŋ
< .05).
The most complex significant interaction effect was: “Stimuli LBR” × “Stimuli Sex” × “Conti-
nent” (p < .0001, ŋ
= .01). It shows that LBR preferences were moderated by continent and
stimuli sex. Among Europeans together with Canadians and Africans, a pattern of LBR .438 <
LBR .464 < LBR .489 < LBR .515 < LBR .541 > LBR .567 > LBR .592 and LBR .464 < LBR .592
was observed both for male and female stimuli (symbols < and > mean significantly lower or
higher attractiveness of particular stimuli; post hoc test, ps < .05). The same pattern was observed
in Asia in the case of male stimuli assessments. Preferences for female stimuli were similar, but
the difference between LBR .515 and LBR .541 was not significant. In Latin America a pattern
of LBR .438 < LBR .464 < LBR .489 < LBR .515 > LBR .541 > LBR .567 > LBR .592 was
observed for male stimuli. Preferences for female stimuli were similar, but the difference between
LBR .515 and LBR .541 was not significant. Unlike in the other continents, participants in Latin
America rated LBR .592 as more attractive than LBR .438 only (but not LBR .464) (Figure 1).
Europeans together with Canadians (for both stimuli sexes) and Africans (for female stimuli)
rated the lowest LBR (.438) lower than Asians and Latin Americans. The highest LBR (.592)
was perceived as more attractive in Europe (with Canada) and Africa than in Asia. At the same
time, Latin Americans rated it even lower (for both stimuli sexes) (Figure 1).
To test if similar results would be obtained if 27 nationalities (instead of four continents) were
taken into account, we conducted the following analysis: 27 (Nationality) × 2 (Participant Sex) ×
2 (Stimuli Sex) × 7 (Stimuli LBR) with participants’ age and LBR as covariates. There was a main
Table 2. The Main Effects of Participants’ Continent, Participants’ Sex, Stimuli Sex, Stimulus’ Leg-to-
Body Ratio (LBR), and Their Interactions
Source df F p η
Continent 3 6.9 .0001 .04
Participant sex 1 8.9 .002 .02
Stimuli sex 1 28.6 .0001 .02
LBR 6 1,311.4 .0001 .58
Continent × Participant Sex 3 5.2 .001 .03
Continent × Stimuli Sex 3 1.9 .12 .003
Participant Sex × Stimuli Sex 1 9.4 .002 .001
Continent × LBR 18 23.8 .0001 .07
Participant Sex × LBR 6 7.6 .0001 .01
Stimuli Sex × LBR 6 18.0 .0001 .01
Continent × Participant Sex × Stimuli Sex 3 2.6 .14 .01
Continent × Participant Sex × LBR 18 1.3 .2 .004
Continent × Stimuli Sex × LBR 18 8.6 .0001 .01
Participant Sex × Stimuli Sex × LBR 6 1.5 .17 .000
Continent × Participant Sex × Stimuli Sex × LBR 18 1.3 .19 .002
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Sorokowski et al. 137
effect of “LBR,” F(6, 18,294) = 2,819.6, p < .0001, ŋ
= .48, as well as an interaction effect of
“LBR—nationality,” F(150, 18,294) = 16.2, p < .0001, ŋ
= .12. Other main and interaction
effects were extremely weak (ŋ
< .02).
The most important finding of our study was that male and female silhouettes with LBRs close
to the average were perceived as more attractive than more extreme LBRs. While the silhouettes
with short and excessively long legs were perceived as less attractive across all nations, too long
Figure 1. Attractiveness Scores for Men and Women Silhouettes With Different Leg Length in Four
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
138 Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 42(1)
legs were generally more attractive than those too short. These findings confirmed the results
obtained previously by Sorokowski and Pawlowski (2008). Although differences in the investi-
gated aesthetical preferences between nations/continents proved to be significant, effect sizes
) indicate that the aesthetic preferences for the various LBRs were only slightly modified by
the participants’ origin. Certain cross-culture differences in LBR preferences exist. Europeans
together with Canadians and Africans preferred relatively high LBR. On the contrary, Latin
Americans rated higher relatively low LBR. This is evident not only in the LBRs that they found
the most attractive but also by their ratings of the highest and the lowest LBR. Unfortunately at
this stage of research, it is impossible to point out any factors that could possibly explain the
observed differences in preferences. However, the preferences for LBR seem not to be directly
related to Western culture (as Nigerians and Georgians preferred higher LBR than the United
Kingdom and Canada).
Some limitations of the described research need to be pointed out. Participants were “informed
of the manipulated nature of the stimuli”; therefore, they probably focused on changes in the
LBR of presented stimuli. Another limitation is the fact that the majority of our participants came
from urban areas within their respective countries, so they might have had frequent contact with
the Western culture. Therefore, it should be pointed out that future research on more rural social
groups needs to confirm our results.
Our participants rated stimuli that were designed specifically on Polish norms. The authors
intended to control the above-mentioned problem and controlled for participants’ LBR (it proved
to have no influence on the results). Also, the blackened stimuli used in this study decreased its
ecological validity. Nevertheless, it enabled us to use the same set in every country (participants
rated stimuli without visible racial characteristics). In a recent study, Frederick et al. (2010) used
computer-designed silhouettes, which seems to be a promising method of designing LBR stimuli
(at the same time, their results were similar to Sorokowski and Pawlowski, 2008, whose stimuli
we used in the present study).
It is important to state that the observed preferences cannot be explained with a tendency to
choose the “middle stimuli.” Our participants preferred the most the silhouettes of LBR average
or higher than the average but not lower than the average. What is more, Sorokowski and
Pawlowski (2008) showed that when people assessed only the average picture and pictures with
legs shortened by 5%, 10%, and 15% (in such cases, the “middle stimuli” would be of LBR—10%),
the highest LBR in that set of stimuli was rated as the most attractive. This shows that prefer-
ences exist for certain LBRs and that these preferences are not solely a byproduct of the middle
of the set of stimuli.
In conclusion, the obtained results enable us to state that there exists a similar (but not identical)
model of the relative length of attractive legs worldwide. In Europe and Africa, people prefer
longer legs than in Latin America, but generally the most attractive are the silhouettes of LBR
higher than 0.5.
We would like to thank R. Mitchell, M. Filipska, A. Patin, A. Szumiński, and L. Krejèová for help with the
data collection. We are also grateful to the Editor, Ute Schönpflug, the reviewers, and R. Nathan Pipitone,
whose suggestions allowed us to improve this manuscript.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interests with respect to their authorship or the publica-
tion of this article.
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Sorokowski et al. 139
Financial Disclosure/Funding
The authors declared that they received no financial support for their research and/or authorship of this
Bertamini, M., & Bennett, K. M. (2009). A study on the effect of leg to body ratio on perceived attractive-
ness of simplified stimuli. Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, 3, 233-250.
Cavanagh, P. R., & Kram, R. (1989). Stride length in distance running: Velocity, body dimensions, and
added mass. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 21, 467-479.
Dangoury, A. D., Schilg, S., Hulse, J. A., & Cole, T. J. (2002). Sitting height and subischial leg length centile
curves for boys and girls from Southeast England. Annals of Human Biology, 29, 290-305.
Davey Smith, G., Greenwood, R., Gunnell, D., Sweetnam, P., Yarnell, J., & Elwood, P. (2001). Leg length,
insulin resistance, and coronary heart disease risk: The Caerphilly Study. Journal of Epidemiology and
Community Health, 55, 867-872.
Fielding, R., Schooling, C. M., Adab, P., Cheng, K. K., Lao, X. Q., Jiang, C. Q., & Lam, T. H. (2008). Are
longer legs associated with enhanced fertility in Chinese women? Evolution and Human Behavior, 29,
Frederick, D. A., Hadji-Michael, M., Furnham, A., & Swami, V. (2010). The influence of leg-to-body
ratio (LBR) on judgments of female physical attractiveness: Assessments of computer-generated images
varying in LBR. Body Image, 7, 51-55.
Pawlowski, B. (2000). The biological meaning of preferences on the human mate market. Anthropological
Review, 63, 66-72.
Rilling, J. K., Torres, L., Kaufman, E. O., Smith, R., Patel, C., & Worthman, M. (2009). Abdominal depth
and waist circumference as influential determinants of human female attractiveness. Evolution and Human
Behavior, 30, 21-31.
Sorokowski, P., & Pawlowski, B. (2008). Adaptive preferences for leg length in a potential partner. Evolution
and Human Behavior, 29, 86-91.
Swami, V., Einon, D., & Furnham, A. (2006). The leg-to-body ratio as a human aesthetic criterion. Body
Image, 3, 317-323.
Swami, V., Einon, D., & Furnham, A. (2007). Cultural significance of leg-to-body ratio preferences? Evidence
from Britain and rural Malaysia. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 265-269.
Wadsworth, M. E. J., Hardy, R. J., Paul, A. A., Marshall, S. F., & Cole, T. J. (2002). Leg and trunk length
at 43 years in relation to childhood health, diet and family circumstances, evidence from 1946 national
birth cohort. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31, 383-391.
Piotr Sorokowski received his PhD in psychology from the University of Wroclaw (Poland). His main
research interests include human mating strategies, physical attractiveness, and markers of reproductive
success in indigenous populations.
at Middle East Technical Univ on January 3, 2011jcc.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Women's leg length was found to be an important determinant of physical attractiveness (reviewed by Cloud and Perilloux 2014). Legs slightly longer than average in women, but not in men, were found to be sexually more attractive to both men and women (Swami et al. 2006(Swami et al. , 2007Sorokowski and Pawlowski 2008;Sorokowski et al. 2011, but see Frederick et al. 2010and Kiire 2016 for preferences for the average leg lengths in various cultures). These results were obtained by means of questionnaires using black-and-white silhouettes (e.g., Sorokowski and Pawlowski 2008) or colourful 3D images (Kiire 2016). ...
... An association between longer legs and perceived physical attractiveness (Swami et al. 2006(Swami et al. , 2007Sorokowski and Pawlowski 2008;Sorokowski et al. 2011) and health (e.g., Gunnel et al. 2005;Hedges et al. 2017;Lawlor et al. 2002Lawlor et al. , 2004Whitley et al. 2012) provides an ultimate explanation for the enhanced attractiveness of legs with high heels. As far as I am aware, this is the first empirical evidence that high heels enhance leg attractiveness in women also by means of visual elongation which supports earlier hypotheses regarding the functional significance of high heel use (Morris 1994;Smith and Helms 1999). ...
... The main limitation of this research is an absence of any additional information regarding the perception of legs in context with bodies. I acknowledge that leg-to-body ratio provides more realistic information regarding human physical attractiveness (e.g., Sorokowski et al. 2011;Kiire 2016;Swami et al. 2006). The present study still has merit, however, considering that I manipulated only one trait (legs) without additional confounding factors similarly as other researchers (e.g. ...
Full-text available
Abstract Women's physical attractiveness is associated with health and fertility, but various fashion accessories could act, however, as supernormal stimuli and may enhance physical attractiveness to the opposite sex. Wearing high heels could contribute to women’s physical attractiveness in various ways. Across three independent studies, I investigated whether high heels influence the perception of leg length and consequently their physical attractiveness in both sexes and their role in women's intrasexual competition. Heeled legs were more attractive than non-heeled legs and heeled legs were also viewed as longer than non-heeled legs. Furthermore, high heels promote women's mates guarding of their own partners as well as their perception of the sexual receptivity of the target wearing high heels. In conclusion, visually prolonged leg length by wearing high heels make legs more sexually attractive and high heels promote competition between women for access to the opposite sex.
... Men are taller and women prefer taller men as romantic partners [2,5]. Despite this difference, a preference for a slightly taller silhouette can be observed for both genders across many cultures [6]. Besides evolutionary principles, there are also social arguments for greater posture preferences. ...
... The reviewed literature suggests a relation between feelings of power and social status, money, height, and interpersonal attractiveness. Specifically, a higher-than-average silhouette is perceived as more attractive by males and by females [6]. Similarly, a higher social status is perceived as more attractive than lower status [18]. ...
Full-text available
Body height is considered to be one of the most important reproductive signals. However, there are only a few publications on what influences the sense of whether we assess ourselves as tall or short. In the present contribution, the psychological impact of money on the evaluation of a person’s own height was tested. We performed two experimental studies in which the respondents had contact with different amounts of money and were asked to evaluate their body height with the use of a laser pointer. The first experiment (N = 61) showed that contact with money significantly increased subjective height evaluation, and the effect was independent of participants’ real body height. The second experiment (N = 120) replicated the effect of money manipulation. Moreover, it was shown that higher amounts of money increased one’s own height estimation more than smaller amounts. Our research shows that money can be used for building one’s social position, which is an attractiveness signal that can influence one’s own height evaluation.
... Relative leg length is usually specified as a leg-to-torso ratio (LTR): when the leg length is measured from the perineum to the ankle, then the average LTR for both males and females is about 1.00 (Greil, 2006;Martin & Nguyen, 2004;Smith et al., 2007;Sorokowski & Pawlowski, 2008). Studies show that the most attractive female figures have an average leg length (Frederick et al., 2010;Kiire, 2016; see also an extensive cross cultural study Sorokowski et al., 2011) or legs longer than the average (Marković et al., 2016;Bertamini & Bennett, 2009;Brooks et al., 2015;Fan et al., 2005;Rilling et al., 2009;Sorokowski & Pawlowski, 2008;Swami et al., 2006). A similar preference for longer legs has also been identified for male figures (Authors, 2016;Versluys & Skylark, 2017). ...
Full-text available
In the present study, we investigated the differences in the experience of attractiveness and unattractiveness of human bodies. A total of 101 participants (55 females) were asked to create the most attractive and the most unattractive female and male figures using a computer animation. They performed this task by adjusting the size of six body parts: shoulders, breasts/chest, waist, hips, buttocks, and legs. Analyses indicated that attractive body parts were distributed normally with the peak shifted to moderately supernormal sizes, while unattractive body parts had mostly U-shaped or skewed distributions with extremes in super-supernormal and/or subnormal sizes. Generally, both male and female attractive bodies had prominent “sporty” look: supernormally wide shoulders and long legs. Gender differences showed that men prefer more supernomal masculine and feminine sizes, while women show an ambivalence toward both groups of traits. Principal components analysis revealed gender differences on the multitrait level: males focus on prominent masculine and feminine traits, while women focus on traits that make both male and female bodies more elongated and slender. Gender differences were in line with specific male and female positions in the partner selection process, while a certain tendency toward masculinization of the female body required the inclusion of social factors, such as the influence of the culture of a sporty and fit look.
... Longer legs are associated with better health (see for a review, Gunnel et al., 2005) and attractiveness (Cloud & Perilloux, 2014;Frederick et al., 2010;Sorokowski et al., 2011;Swami et al., 2006), and heels accentuate that length. Moreover, longer legs are associated with greater reproductive success for women but not men, indicating that it is connected to men's mate preferences for partners (Fielding et al., 2008). ...
We analyzed the responses of 448 participants who completed questions on attractiveness and other evolutionary fitness related traits, and long- and short-term mating potential, of a woman in either high heeled or flat shoes. We hypothesized that the woman in high heels would be rated as more attractive and evolutionarily fit by both men and women, and preferred for short-term mating by men. The hypothesis was partially supported. The woman in high heels was perceived as being more sexually attractive, physically attractive, feminine, and of a higher status. Additionally, women rated women as having a higher status regardless of the shoe, than men, while men rated women as having higher short- and long-term mating potential, than women did, regardless of the shoe. We discuss the implications of these findings.
... Another area for research is the extant literature on leg length, proportion of leg length to height, and attractiveness. While several researchers have examined the role of leg length in humans, little has been done in popular culture depictions (Sorokowski et al., 2011). This, however, is also not without difficulty. ...
... One interesting hypothesis generated from these findings is that, as arm length predicts fighting success, and is readily observable, we may be able to judge arm length accurately and this may affect perceptions of formidability and physical dominance. There is a large literature showing that we are readily able to differentiate between different leg to height ratios in the context of mate choice (e.g., Sorokowski et al., 2011), so it would not be unreasonable to suspect that males may incorporate arm length or in their formidability assessments. Long arms relative to one's size may be a cue of fighting ability. ...
Full-text available
Growing evidence suggests that human males have been sexually selected for violent contest competition. I propose the hypothesis that increased arm length is an intrasexually selected adaptation for fighting in males. Longer arms may have provided several advantages to our male ancestors during conflict. However previous research on the effects of arm span on fighting success have shown mixed results and may not have fully accounted for allometric scaling of arm span with size. In a sample of 1,660 modern mixed martial arts fighters, I find that arm span is sexually dimorphic and associated with fighting success, even when controlling for body size. However, effects of arm span on fighting success were very small, suggesting that selection may have been weak. I review evidence for alternative explanations for men’s longer arm span and propose future directions to further test this hypothesis.
... Slovak females with a lower reported body height showed a stronger preference for high heels in both self-reported wearing and in the would-be mating scenario. We suggest that high heels could add to physical attractiveness particularly amongst females with a lower body height, because female legs slightly longer than average are sexually more attractive to males (Sorokowski et al., 2011;Sorokowski & Pawlowski, 2008;Swami, Einon, & Furnham, 2006. Longer legs are associated with better health (e.g., Gunnel et al., 2005;Lawlor, Ebrahim, & Davey Smith, 2002;Lawlor, Taylor, Davey Smith, Gunnell, & Ebrahim, 2004) which may ultimately explain male preference for longer legs in females. ...
Full-text available
Females use various behavioural tactics in order to attract the attention of a desirable mate. Wearing high heels enhances female physical attractiveness for the opposite sex, thus their use seems to be a powerful sexual signal. We investigated female preferences for high heels both in everyday life as well as in a hypothetical mating scenario. Slovak females reported a low frequency of wearing high heels (45% once per month, 38% never) in everyday life. Females with a lower body height and high self-perceived attractiveness reported more frequent use of high heels than others. Sociosexuality and involvement in a romantic relationship did not predict the wearing of high heels. When females imagined an interaction with an attractive male, preferences for high heels steeply increased compared with a scenario with an unattractive male. Females with a low body height use high heels in all probability to visually elongate their leg length in order to increase their physical attractiveness. High heels seem to be a form of sexual signalling by females in intersexual interactions.
... [25]), and the inclusion criteria were as follows: female, heterosexual, aged 18 or over, who reported no problems with viewing the experimental stimuli and whose IP address had not occurred earlier in the experiment or experimental series (i.e. who had not previously participated in the present or closely related studies). In Study 1, the sample comprised 341 women aged 19 three variables (IR, LBR and ABR; here and throughout, power calculation was computed using GPower using default assumptions regarding sphericity and correlation between repeated measures [54]). ...
Full-text available
Human mate choice is influenced by limb proportions. Previous work has focussed on leg-to-body (LBR) ratio as a determinant of male attractiveness and found a preference for limbs that are close to, or slightly above, the average. We investigated the influence of two other key aspects of limb morphology: arm-to-body ratio (ABR) and intra-limb ratio (IR). In 3 studies of heterosexual women from the USA, we tested the attractiveness of male physiques that varied in LBR, ABR, and IR, using figures that ranged from -3 to +3 SD from the population mean. We replicated previous work by finding that the optimally-attractive LBR is approximately 0.5 standard deviations above the baseline. We also found a weak effect of intra-limb ratio, with evidence of a weak preference for the baseline proportions. In contrast, there was no effect of ABR on attractiveness, and no interactions between the effects of LBR, ABR, and IR. Our results indicate that ABR is not an important determinant of human mate choice for this population, and that IR may exert some influence but that this is much smaller than the effects of LBR. We discuss possible reasons for these results, including the limited variability in upper limb proportions and the potentially weak fitness-signal provided by this aspect of morphology.
The interface of sexual behavior and evolutionary psychology is a rapidly growing domain, rich in psychological theories and data as well as controversies and applications. With nearly eighty chapters by leading researchers from around the world, and combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology is the most comprehensive and up-to-date reference work in the field. Providing a broad yet in-depth overview of the various evolutionary principles that influence all types of sexual behaviors, the handbook takes an inclusive approach that draws on a number of disciplines and covers nonhuman and human psychology. It is an essential resource for both established researchers and students in psychology, biology, anthropology, medicine, and criminology, among other fields. Volume 1: Foundations of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology addresses foundational theories and methodological approaches.
Evolutionary psychology owes its origins to a number of eminent scientists. Among them are Charles Darwin (1871), Ronald Fisher (1930), Robert Trivers (1972), George Williams (1975), and Donald Symons (1979). Many more eminent researchers have emerged since, influenced by their work, following in their pioneering footsteps. David Buss is one such example. His seminal 1989 paper “Sex Differences in Human Mate Preferences” evolved from this rich and varied backdrop of scientific endeavor and has informed, enlightened, inspired and occasionally provoked readers ever since. This paper is the focus of the present chapter.
Full-text available
In Western culture there are countless examples of reference to female legs as a factor in sexual attraction. It is not surprising, therefore, that both males and females perceive female figures as more attractive as leg length increases, in proportion to torso or stature, and perhaps the opposite should be true for male figures. Both evolutionary and socio cultural factors can play a role in the effect, such as the emphasis on longer legs in images of attractive women. To isolate leg length from other factors we conducted three studies using an extremely simplified type of stimulus: stick figures. Results using three different dependent variables (a forced choice, a rating, and a production task) confirm a role for leg length in attractiveness judgments, modulated also by level of estimated self attractiveness. We discuss the potential of simplified stimuli, which do not attempt to appear realistic, as a tool in the study of factors affecting attractiveness.
Full-text available
Factors, which universally influence mate choice decisions, are: age, physical appearance, and resources. Different evidence of the biological relevance of these three factors on the human mate market is presented. The sex-specific preferences for partner's age reflect such values as Fisherian reproduc-tive potential and fecundity for females and life expectancy related to the length of further time of paternal investment for males. Physical attractiveness is ana-lyzed as a marker of female's age, and in the case of both sexes as a marker of hormone level, heterozygosity and therefore immunocompetence. Because at-tractiveness connotes genetic quality of a prospective partner and indicates higher fitness for offspring, it is not an arbitrary trait. Resources of males are discussed as being important for females because they assure good paternal in-vestment and therefore higher reproductive success. Human flexibility in age and physical attractiveness preferences is also examined in relation to ecological conditions. The evidence presented here indicates that the factors influencing human mate choice decisions can be honest, biologically relevant cues of repro-ductive value of a prospective partner.
Full-text available
Previous research based largely on two-dimensional (2D) line drawings and picture stimuli has established that both body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) influence the perceived attractiveness of human female bodies. Here, we extend these studies by (1) creating a more ecologically valid stimulus set consisting of 3D videos and 2D still shots from real female "models" rotating in space, and (2) measuring and examining the influence of several additional anthropometric variables that previously have not been considered. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the depth of the lower torso at the umbilicus, or abdominal depth, and waist circumference were the strongest predictors of attractiveness, stronger than either BMI or WHR. Women with shallow abdominal depth and small waist circumference are more likely to be healthy and nonpregnant, suggesting that this may be an adaptive male preference that has been shaped by natural selection. Leg length was a consistent positive predictor of attractiveness, perhaps because it has been correlated with biomechanical efficacy or healthy prepubertal growth that is unhindered by nutritional or energetic deficiency. Our results show that conclusions regarding anthropometric predictors of attractiveness are influenced by the visual perspective of the perceiver, as well as the anthropometric variables considered for analysis.
Full-text available
The preferred stride frequency (SF) and stride length (SL) of male recreational distance runners were measured on a level treadmill under a variety of conditions over the typical distance running speed range of 3.15-4.12 m.s-1. At a given speed, the correlation coefficients between the subjects' anthropometric variables (APV) (such as stature, leg length, and limb segment mass) and their preferred stride variables were consistently low (less than or equal to 0.36) and not significantly different from zero. As speed increased through the experimental range, SF remained nearly constant (only a 4% increase) while SL increased by 28%. The use of dimensionless velocity was shown to be no more effective than conventional methods in the prediction of a SL vs velocity relationship, but the dimensionless form of the relationship was remarkably similar to those observed for other animal species and other forms of gait. The addition of masses up to 1.1 kg at each ankle produced no significant change in SF or SL. The results indicate that factors other than APV are the primary determinants of preferred SF and SL. Since it has been shown previously that the preferred SL is usually the most economical, APV cannot be used to accurately predict or prescribe SF or SL on an individual basis.
Full-text available
Adult height has been inversely associated with coronary heart disease risk in several studies. The mechanism for this association is not well understood, however, and this was investigated by examining components of stature, cardiovascular disease risk factors and subsequent coronary heart disease in a prospective study. All men aged 45-59 years living in the town of Caerphilly, South Wales were approached, and 2512 (89%) responded and underwent a detailed examination, which included measurement of height and sitting height (from which an estimate of leg length was derived). Participants were followed up through repeat examinations and the cumulative incidence of coronary heart disease-both fatal and non-fatal-over a 15 year follow up period is the end point in this report. Cross sectional associations between cardiovascular risk factors and components of stature (total height, leg length and trunk length) demonstrated that factors related to the insulin resistance syndrome-the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, fasting triglyceride levels and total to HDL cholesterol ratio-were less favourable in men with shorter legs, while showing reverse or no associations with trunk length. Fibrinogen levels were inversely associated with leg length and showed a weaker association with trunk length. Forced expiratory volume in one second was unrelated to leg length but strongly positively associated to trunk length. Other risk factors showed little association with components of stature. The risk of coronary heart disease was inversely related to leg length but showed little association with trunk length. Leg length is the component of stature related to insulin resistance and coronary heart disease risk. As leg length is unrelated to lung function measures it is unlikely that these can explain the association in this cohort. Factors that influence leg length in adulthood-including nutrition, other influences on growth in early life, genetic and epigenetic influences-merit further investigation in this regard. The reported associations suggest that pre-adult influences are important in the aetiology of coronary heart disease and insulin resistance.
Background This is a study of the associations of adult leg and trunk length with early life height and weight, diet, socioeconomic circumstances, and health, and parental height, divorce and death.Method The data used were collected in a longitudinal study of the health, development and ageing of a British national birth cohort (N = 2879 in this analysis) studied since birth in 1946. Multiple regression models were used to investigate the relationships.Results Adult leg and trunk length were each positively associated with parental height, birthweight, and weight at 4 years. Leg length was associated positively with breastfeeding and energy intake at 4 years. Trunk length was associated negatively with serious illness in childhood and possibly also parental divorce, but not with the dietary data..Conclusion Adult leg length is particularly sensitive to environmental factors and diet in early childhood because that is the period of most rapid leg growth. Trunk growth is faster than leg growth after infancy and before puberty, and may be associated with the effects of serious illness and parental separation because of the child's growing sensitivity to stressful circumstances, as well as the result of the biological effects of illness.
Female height impacts fertility differently in western and nonwestern cultures. Leg length or relatively longer legs comprise key components of height and possibly indicates mate value. We examined the associations between height, its components, and reproductive outcomes in a large Chinese cohort. Multivariable regression was used to assess the association of height, leg length (standing minus sitting height) and relatively longer legs with number of offspring in a cross-sectional sample of 9998 Chinese people aged at least 50 years from Phase 2 of the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study recruited in 2005–2006. Older and less educated respondents had more children. Adjusted for age, childhood socioeconomic status (SES), and education, women with longer legs had more offspring; however, there was no such association in men. When stratified by childhood SES (reported parental material possessions), longer legs and relatively longer legs were most strongly associated with more offspring in women from poorer backgrounds. Fertility was specifically associated with longer legs and relatively longer legs in women only. The difference in the association of leg length to number of offspring by childhood SES suggests a preference advantage rather than a physiological advantage in being taller. However, these benefits were specific to reproductive success in women and particularly women from poorer backgrounds suggesting that social factors may have facilitated fertility.
The leg-to-body ratio (LBR) has been suggested as an under-researched aesthetic criterion in humans. In the present study, 54 rural Malaysians and 80 Britons rated for physical attractiveness a set of line drawings that varied in five levels of LBR. The results showed that, for British participants, a higher LBR was preferred in women but a lower LBR was preferred in men. Malaysian participants, in contrast, rated medium female LBR and low male LBR as the most attractive. These results are discussed in terms of cross-cultural differences in media exposure, which may moderate judgements of attractiveness of various body components.
It has been shown that height is one of the morphological traits that influence a person's attractiveness. To date, few studies have addressed the relationship between different components of height and physical attractiveness. Here, we study how leg length influences attractiveness in men and women. Stimuli consisted of seven different pictures of a man and seven pictures of a woman in which the ratio between leg length and height was varied from the average phenotype by elongating and shortening the legs. One hundred men and 118 women were asked to assess the attractiveness of the silhouettes using a seven-point scale. We found that male and female pictures with shorter than average legs were perceived as less attractive by both sexes. Although longer legs appeared to be more attractive, this was true only for the slight (5%) leg length increase; excessively long legs decreased body attractiveness for both sexes. Because leg length conveys biological quality, we hypothesize that such preferences reflect the workings of evolved mate-selection mechanisms. Short and/or excessively long legs might indicate maladaptive biological conditions such as genetic diseases, health problems, or weak immune responses to adverse environmental factors acting during childhood and adolescence.
The leg-to-body ratio (LBR), which is reliably associated with developmental stability and health outcomes, is an understudied component of human physical attractiveness. Several studies examining the effects of LBR on aesthetic judgments have been limited by the reliance on stimuli composed of hand-drawn silhouettes. In the present study, we developed a new set of female computer-generated images portraying eight levels of LBR that fell within the typical range of human variation. A community sample of 207 Britons in London and students from two samples drawn from a US university (Ns=940, 114) rated the physical attractiveness of the images. We found that mid-ranging female LBRs were perceived as maximally attractive. The present research overcomes some of the problems associated with past work on LBR and aesthetic preferences through use of computer-generated images rather than hand-drawn images and provides an instrument that may be useful in future investigations of LBR preferences.