Why arched backs are attractive

October 25, 2017

Researchers have provided scientific evidence for what lap dancers and those who twerk probably have known all along - men are captivated by the arched back of a woman. A team led by Farid Pazhoohi of the University of Minho in Portugal used 3D models and eye-tracking technology to show how the subsequent slight thrusting out of a woman's hips can hold a man's gaze. The findings are published in Springer's journal Evolutionary Psychological Science. Studies of animals such as rats, guinea pigs, sheep, cats, ferrets and primates have shown that this so-called lordotic posture, in which the lower spine is curved towards the belly, can signal the readiness of females to mate. According to Pazhoohi, this posture may have also evolved as part of the courting behaviour of humans, and as a signal of a woman willing to be courted by a man.

The researchers set out to study the role that body posture plays in the development of human mate attraction and selection. To do so, six computer-generated 3D models of a woman's upper body was generated. The models' backs were manipulated at slightly different yet normal body angles. This resulted in variations in how their backs arched and their buttocks extended outwards. Three different views (from the front, side and the back) of each of the models were then presented to 82 undergraduate men and women, who had to rate how attractive they found each posture. Eye-tracking technology was used to monitor the participants' gaze while they were looking at the images.

The results show that small changes in the angle of a woman's back influence how attractive others perceive her to be. The more arched the back of the 3D model, the more appealing the men and women participating in the study rated it to be.

"Increased curvature increases the perception of attractiveness," explains Pazhoohi.

Results of the eyetracking part of the study further showed that participants, irrespective of their gender, looked at the rear view of the models much longer than the side or front angles. The female participants looked longer at the waist area, while the men focused their attention on the models' hips. Interestingly, both the results of attractiveness ratings and eyetracking indicate the effect is more robust from side and back-side views compared to the front where the hip is most visible.

"The latter highlights the unique influence of an arched back on the perception of attractiveness," explains Pazhoohi. "The perception of attractiveness and visual attention to the hip region suggests that lordosis or the arching of the back might signal human females' proceptivity or willingness to be courted. This also might explain why women wear high heel shows and why wearing high heel shoes increases womens' attractiveness."
Reference: Pazhoohi, F. et al (2017). Arching the back (lumbar curvature) as a female sexual proceptivity signal: An eyetracking study, Evolutionary Psychological Science DOI 10.1007/s40806-017-0123-7


Related Perception Articles from Brightsurf:

Intelligent cameras enhance human perception
A team of FAU researchers has developed an intelligent camera that achieves not only high spatial and temporal but also spectral resolution.

New perception metric balances reaction time, accuracy
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new metric for evaluating how well self-driving cars respond to changing road conditions and traffic, making it possible for the first time to compare perception systems for both accuracy and reaction time.

Sweet-taste perception changes as children develop
While adults prefer levels of sweetness similar to typical soft drinks, children and adolescents are less sensitive to the taste and prefer concentrations that are 50% sweeter, according to research by professor of food science and human nutrition M.

Optogenetic odors reveal the logic of olfactory perception
Using optogenetic control, researchers have created an electrical signature that is perceived as an odor in the brain's smell-processing center, the olfactory bulb, even though the odor does not exist.

Vision loss influences perception of sound
People with severe vision loss can less accurately judge the distance of nearby sounds, potentially putting them more at risk of injury.

Why visual perception is a decision process
A popular theory in neuroscience called predictive coding proposes that the brain produces all the time expectations that are compared with incoming information.

How the heart affects our perception
When we encounter a dangerous situation, signals from the brain make sure that the heart beats faster.

Changing how we think about warm perception
Perceiving warmth requires input from a surprising source: cool receptors.

Rhythmic perception in humans has strong evolutionary roots
So suggests a study that compares the behaviour of rodents and humans with respect to the detection rhythm, published in Journal of Comparative Psychology by Alexandre Celma-Miralles and Juan Manuel Toro, researchers at the Center for Brain and Cognition.

Approaching the perception of touch in the brain
More than ten percent of the cerebral cortex are involved in processing information about our sense of touch -- a larger area than previously thought.

Read More: Perception News and Perception Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.