Stressed men shun skinny women

Researchers suggest men find "strong" looking women more attractive, proving that stress can changes perceptions of beauty. PHOTO: Cover

Researchers suggest men find "strong" looking women more attractive, proving that stress can changes perceptions of beauty. PHOTO: Cover



Stressed men are more attracted to “strong” women.

New research from Scotland has shown that when men are suffering with high levels of pressure, they find “strong” looking women more attractive. The results prove that stress can change our perception of beauty.

Scientists from the University of St Andrews recruited 32 participants in their 20s, and asked them to look at computer-generated images of five women, who varied in apparent weight, and rate who they found most attractive.

Twenty three of the men then had to undergo intensive army cadet training while the other nine didn’t see their surroundings change.

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After rating the faces once training had begun, it was found this group of men started to veer towards heavier-looking women. The men who kept their lives the same saw no change in preference.

“Such changes in preferences may be beneficial because they allow for increased opportunities to form partnerships with those who are better equipped to survive illness or uncertain food availability,” lead researcher Dr. Carlota Batres said.

“It would be very valuable to alter the sort of person we are attracted to in times of stress and the fact we identified the phenomenon in only three days is particularly interesting.”

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Findings have been published in journal Ethology, and Dr. Batres adds that real life stress situations are a lot tougher than army boot camp.

“The harshness of their environment was fairly mild compared to someone suddenly suffering extreme poverty, for instance, when we would expect the changes to be even more dramatic,” Dr. Batres continued. “It shows who we find attractive is particularly sensitive to the environment in which we find ourselves.”

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