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Title: Physical features of the human body that predict attractiveness and health judgements
Author: Crossley, Kara Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 0505
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis focuses on examining which visual cues are used by observers to judge the health and attractiveness of the human body. To determine which cues are used, and their relative importance, a series of psychophysical studies were conducted using image processing software and eye-tracking. The first study addressed the problem of co-variation in body features using image processing software to produce a balanced set of torso shapes independently varying in bust, waist and hip size to determine the relative importance of these features (Chapter 2). Following on from this, an interactive 3D software programme was used to allow male and female participants to create a 3D model of their ideal body (Chapter 3). The programme allowed different body features to be independently manipulated, and indicated which features are the most important for this assessment. Next, the relative length of the leg and torso in male and females bodies were varied both in sets of artificial and real bodies and these stimuli were rated by male and female observers (Chapter 4). Subsequently, because there are reported behavioural differences in how women assess other women as compared to themselves, the pattern of eye-movements made by women when judging their own body was compared to the pattern of eye movements made when judging other women’s bodies (Chapter 5). In the last study, the pattern of eye-movements made when judging male bodies were determined (Chapter 6). The results suggest that the multiple shape configurations for the body are judged to be equally attractive or healthy, and it is possible to trade off low quality in one feature against higher quality in another feature. Finally, the results of these studies are discussed in the context of evolutionary and social psychology theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available