New findings published in Evolutionary Psychological Science suggest that men are more likely to pay attention to the chest region of other man than women do.
“Men and women have sexually dimorphic physical characteristic and both men and women rate female faces bearing feminine features, such as full lips and small chin, more attractive than female faces with masculine traits,” said Farid Pazhoohi, a psychologist based at the University of British Columbia and the corresponding author of the new study.
“Similarly, individuals prefer female-typical body features such as low waist to hip ratios (small waist and broad hips) in women compared to masculine features (high-waist-to-hip ratios). One male-typical sexually dimorphic trait is broad chests (larger upper body size) and is associated with being more successful with securing status and resources.”
"If having a larger upper body is a male-typical attribute, then women with smaller upper bodies should be considered more feminine and therefore more attractive. Similar to men, women’s body characteristics such as their upper body size show variations,” Pazhoohi told PsyPost.
“As the variations in women upper body have never been investigated, we aimed to test the effect of both men and women upper body size on their perceived attractiveness and gazing behaviour in both men and women.”
For their investigation, researchers recruited 82 heterosexual undergraduate students before tracking their eye movements as they viewed and rated the attractiveness of three male and female 3D models. Each model had a different shoulder-to-hip ratio.
“Our study showed that men rate men with larger upper body sizes more attractive and rate women with smaller shoulders (smaller upper body) more attractive, while women preferred an intermediate size of shoulders for both men and women,” Pazhoohi continued.
They also noted that men tended to have their eyes fixed for longer on the chest region of the male 3D models with higher shoulder-to-hip ratios. Meanwhile women did not share that same obsession for the upper body.
“Gazing results showed that only men attend to variations in men upper bodies. In sum, men are more concerned with men’s upper bodies, suggesting they desire more masculine body forms for their mating success as well as in making the assessment of other men’s formidability,” Pazhoohi explained.
That being said, Pazhoohi admits they'll need to do more testing with different demographics.
“Our findings regarding the female upper body size and also men preference for other men upper body size using eye-tracking are the first and certainly need to be replicated using different samples, ethnicities, stimuli, etc,” he added.