Long legs turn women's heads, arm length immaterial: study

May 16, 2018
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Labouring over the age-old question "What do women look for in men?", scientists added an item to the list Wednesday: legs slightly longer than average, with a good shin-to-thigh ratio.

Long arms, however, fail to impress.

In an online survey, some 800 American preferred faceless male figures "when their legs are slightly longer than average"—but not too long, said study co-author Thomas Versluys of the University of Cambridge.

The women, aged 19-76 from different racial groups, were asked to judge the attractiveness of computer-generated male silhouettes with slight differences in leg- and .

The respondents preferred legs that were just above the average length, but not too long.

They also found figures most attractive "when the ratio between the lower and upper limb segment—shin and thigh—was average," Versluys told AFP.

However, "we also found that arm length has no effect on attractiveness."

In the study of sexual selection in humans, limb proportions are known to be an important determinant of attractiveness.

The latest study is the most detailed investigation yet of how short is too short, and how long is too long, said the authors.

Long and the short of it

The results suggest leg length played an important role in and human evolution in the past, and has likely remained a subconscious preference in .

"It is probably important because it's a fairly reliable predictor of factors that are relevant in such as health, developmental trajectory, nutrition, and so forth," explained Versluys.

So why would arm length, thought to be important for activities such as spear throwing and fishing, be less important to women than the span of their legs?

It could be that long legs are a better signal of good nutrition and health, said the researcher.

Also, leg length is more obvious than arm length, and adds to a man's overall height—also seen as a plus in competition for mates.

"Taken together, our results add to the growing evidence that limb variation influences aspects of human well-being ranging from mate choice to employment prospects to medical outcomes...", the research team wrote in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Explore further: Women's preference for masculine faces not linked with hormones: study

More information: The influence of leg-to-body ratio, arm-to-body ratio, and intra-limb ratio on male human attractiveness, Royal Society Open Science, rsos.royalsocietypublishing.or … /10.1098/rsos.171790

Related Stories

Women's preference for masculine faces not linked with hormones: study

May 7, 2018
Data from almost 600 participants show that women's perceptions of male attractiveness do not vary according to their hormone levels, in contrast with some previous research. The study findings are published in Psychological ...

Mate-choice copying in humans – are all the taken men good?

January 29, 2018
A new study by researchers from the Universities of St Andrews, Durham, Exeter and Arizona State finds that men get an 'attractiveness boost' from being chosen by others – but so do abstract works of art.

Penis size does matter to women, researchers say in PNAS study (w/ Video)

April 8, 2013
The eternal question of whether penis size matters to women has been probed by a team of international scientists who reported on Monday that yes, ladies do find larger men more attractive.

Recommended for you

Early life trauma in men associated with reduced levels of sperm microRNAs

May 22, 2018
Exposure to early life trauma can lead to poor physical and mental health in some individuals, which can be passed on to their children. Studies in mice show that at least some of the effects of stress can be transmitted ...

Training compassion 'muscle' may boost brain's resilience to others' suffering

May 22, 2018
It can be distressing to witness the pain of family, friends or even strangers going through a hard time. But what if, just like strengthening a muscle or learning a new hobby, we could train ourselves to be more compassionate ...

Study finds popular 'growth mindset' educational interventions aren't very effective

May 22, 2018
A new study co-authored by researchers at Michigan State University and Case Western Reserve University found that "growth mindset interventions," or programs that teach students they can improve their intelligence with effort—and ...

Schizophrenics' blood has more genetic material from microbes

May 22, 2018
The blood of schizophrenia patients features genetic material from more types of microorganisms than that of people without the debilitating mental illness, research at Oregon State University has found.

Kids show adult-like intuition about ownership

May 22, 2018
Children as young as age three are able to make judgements about who owns an object based on its location, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youth

May 21, 2018
New research suggests the suicide rate is roughly two times higher for black children ages 5-12 compared with white children of the same age group. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), appears ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.