Perceptions of physical attractiveness among college students: Selected determinants and methodological matters

  • Brown T
  • Cash T
  • Noles S
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Abstract

The present study used videotape to examine selected determinants of perceptions of physical attractiveness and gender (masculinity/femininity) in a college student sample of 30 men and 85 women. Both body and facial attractiveness contributed to the prediction of overall attractiveness, although neither variable was a more powerful predictor than the other. Perceptions of overall physical attractiveness, both static (“fixed target”) and dynamic (“moving target”), were positively related to perceptions of grooming. In predicting dynamic physical attractiveness from static physical attractiveness and certain nonverbal indices thought to be related to attractiveness evaluations in naturally occurring conditions, only static physical attractiveness entered the regression equation at a significant level. Still, perceived friendliness and natural body movement were related to overall attractiveness perceptions. Finally, physical attractiveness was significantly related to gender perceptions in both males and females, with natural body movement and tight-fitting clothes also predictive of perceived masculinity in males and overall grooming and natural body movement predictive of perceived femininity in females.

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