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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.
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Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
http://jcc.sagepub.com/content/42/1/131
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
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Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
42(1) 131 –139
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DOI: 10.1177/0022022110392229
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Attractiveness of
Leg Length: Report
From 27 Nations
Piotr Sorokowski
1
, Andrzej Szmajke
1
,
Agnieszka Sorokowska
1
, Maryann Borg Cunen
2
,
Marharyta Fabrykant
3
, Kiumars Zarafshani
4
,
Manochehr Amiri
4
, Saeideh Bazzazian
5
,
Biljana Blazevska-Stoilkovska
6
, Veronica Casellas
7
,
Hakan Cetinkaya
8
, Berenice Lopez Coutino
9
, Maria Chavez
10
,
Cecilia Cheng
11
, Ioana Cristea
12
, Daniel David
12
, Seda Dural
13
,
Anna Dzie˛cioł
14
, Sofian Fauzee
15
, Ana Frichand
6
,
Evrim Gulbetekin
13
, Ivana Hromatko
16
, Tina Javahishvili
17
,
Anna Jgenti
17
, Sandi Kartasasmita
18
, Khadijeh Moradi
4
,
Bojan Musil
19
, Sonia Nongmaithem
20
, Ekundayo Oladipo
21
,
Ojedokun Oluyinka
22
, Kanak Patil
23
, Wanda Schell
7
,
Hasmig Serpekian
24
, Borislav Slavchev
25
, Stanislava Stoyanova
25
,
Meri Tadinac
16
, Nachiketa Tripathi
20
, and Tzu Fang
26
Abstract
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.
Keywords
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
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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.
Method
Participants
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).
1
University of Wroclaw, Institute of Psychology
2
University of Malta
3
Belarusian State University
4
Razi University
5
Islamic Azad University
6
University “Sts. Cyril and Methodius”
7
University of Puerto Rico
8
Izmir University of Economics
9
University of Guadalajara
10
Independent scholar
11
University of Hong Kong
12
Babes-Bolyai University
13
I
.
zmir University
14
University of Glasgow
15
University Putra Malaysia
16
University of Zagreb
17
Tbilisi State University
18
Tarumanagara University
19
University of Maribor
20
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
21
Tai Solarin University of Education
22
Lead City University
23
University of Pune
24
University of Jordan
25
South-West University Neofit Rilski
26
University in Taiwan
Corresponding Author:
Piotr Sorokowski, University of Wroclaw, Dawida 1, Wroclaw 50-527 Poland.
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133
Table 1. Attractiveness Scores for Men and Women Silhouettes with Different Leg Length
Region
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
Canada
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
United
Kingdom
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
(continued)
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134
Table 1. (continued)
Region
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
Latin
America
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
Puerto
Rico
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.
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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.
Procedure
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
participants.
Results
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
2
p
= .15, and age, F(3, 3,099) = 93.2, p < .0001, ŋ
2
p
= .08 of the
participants.
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
LBR.
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
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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
2
p
< .05).
The most complex significant interaction effect was: “Stimuli LBR” × “Stimuli Sex” × “Conti-
nent” (p < .0001, ŋ
2
p
= .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
2
p
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
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Sorokowski et al. 137
effect of “LBR,” F(6, 18,294) = 2,819.6, p < .0001, ŋ
2
p
= .48, as well as an interaction effect of
“LBR—nationality,” F(150, 18,294) = 16.2, p < .0001, ŋ
2
p
= .12. Other main and interaction
effects were extremely weak (ŋ
2
p
< .02).
Discussion
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
Regions
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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
2
) 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.
Acknowledgments
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.
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Sorokowski et al. 139
Financial Disclosure/Funding
The authors declared that they received no financial support for their research and/or authorship of this
article.
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Bios
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.
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