Mapping female bodily features of attractiveness

Jeanne Bovet*, Junpeng Lao, Océane Bartholomée, Roberto Caldara, Michel Raymond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye (Shakespeare, Loves Labours Lost), but the bodily features governing this critical biological choice are still debated. Eye movement studies have demonstrated that males sample coarse body regions expanding from the face, the breasts and the midriff, while making female attractiveness judgements with natural vision. However, the visual system ubiquitously extracts diagnostic extra-foveal information in natural conditions, thus the visual information actually used by men is still unknown. We thus used a parametric gaze-contingent design while males rated attractiveness of female front- and back-view bodies. Males used extra-foveal information when available. Critically, when bodily features were only visible through restricted apertures, fixations strongly shifted to the hips, to potentially extract hip-width and curvature, then the breast and face. Our hierarchical mapping suggests that the visual system primary uses hip information to compute the waist-to-hip ratio and the body mass index, the crucial factors in determining sexual attractiveness and mate selection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18551
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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