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Men in Contemporary America. Why is Muscularity Sexy? Tests of the Fitness Indicator Hypothesis Maggie, Genie, Joe Frederick , D., Haselton , M. (2007). Why is muscularity sexy? Tests of the fitness indicator  hypothesis . Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(8), 1167-1184. .

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men in contemporary america

Men in Contemporary America

Why is Muscularity Sexy?

Tests of the Fitness Indicator Hypothesis

Maggie, Genie, Joe

Frederick, D., Haselton, M. (2007). Why is muscularity sexy? Tests of the fitness indicator

 hypothesis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(8), 1167-1184.

purpose
Purpose
  • Researched how certain levels of male masculinity is perceived by females, and how these levels of masculinity affect how many lifetime partners a guy has.
  • Study 1: Examined difference in how women rated each body on the dimensions of sexual desirability, dominance, commitment, and volatility.
    • Participants included 141 UCLA undergraduate female students. Mean age 20.44.
    • Researchers altered the muscularity and body weight of 6 images. All other factors, such as height, were held constant.
    • Researcher showed participants the 6 computer-generated images of men.
    • Participants were to rate the body types, ratings were made on a 9-point Likert scale (1 = not at all, 9 = extremely)

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

study 1
Study 1

Tested women’s ratings of physical attractiveness and sexual desirability of muscular men

  • Participant included 141 undergraduate female participants with a mean age of 20.44.
  • All participants attended UCLA.

Showed the participants computer-generated pictures of men.

    • Researchers altered the muscularity and body weight of the images. All other factors, such as height, were held constant.
    • The first variable altered was defined as muscular or non-muscular.
    • The second was total body weight, either large (230lb) medium (190) or small (150).
  • There were six possible variations of these different types of bodies, brawny (large, muscular) built (medium, muscular) toned (small, muscular) chubby (large, non-muscular) typical (medium, non-muscular) slender (small, non-muscular).

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

slide4

I

Adapted from Frederick and Haselton, 2007, p.1180.

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

results of female ratings
Results of Female Ratings
  • Women reported that muscular men were more sexually desirable than non-muscular men and that moderately muscular men (built, toned) were most desirable.
  • Women also reported that muscular men (toned, built, brawny) are more physically dominant and volatile but less likely to be committed to their partners, than each of the non-muscular men (slender, typical, chubby).
    • Brawny men were rated as most dominant, most volatile and least committed

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

study 4
Study 4
  • Testedthe prediction about men’s reports of their own sexual histories

Hypothesized that muscular men would report having more lifetime sexual partners than non-muscular men

Participants were 99 men with a mean age of 21.26.

Participants were photographed and asked how many different partners they had ever had sexual intercourse with.

These pictures were then showed to a group of judges (3 women and 1 man), the judges were then told to code the men for muscularity and body fat, using a 9-point Likert scale

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

slide7

Appendix A and B – showing Images Representing Men Varying in Muscularity (a) and (b) in Body Fat Level

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

results of male self ratings
Results of Male Self-ratings
  • Greater muscularity, as coded by independent judges, was associated with greater lifetime partner numbers.
      • Finding supports the prediction that muscular men have more mating opportunities.
      • Men who were more muscular reported more lifetime sex partners

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

critical review
Critical Review
  • There were certain strengths and limitations to these studies; one limitation was that the participants that were tested were all young college students who may have differing preferences than the overall population. However in saying that college students are also a perfect pool to pick from because college aged students are at the point in their lives in which they are actively seeking out possible mates. Another was that the study should perhaps be preformed in other areas of the country and even in the world as preferences may differ according to location.
  • One strength was that the use of computer generated images for the first study minimizes the confounds associated with images of real men and offers the ability to vary the levels of masculinity systematically.
  • The results across the studies supported the scientist’s original hypothesis, that muscularity is a sexually selected fitness cue. Therefore if muscularity is a cue of fitness, muscular men should have more mating opportunities.

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

video clip
Video Clip
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc91S11U3eo&feature=related

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

quiz questions
Quiz Questions

1. Muscular men have less lifetime partners and are perceived as being more committed in a

relationship than when compared to nonmuscular men? (T/F)

2. On average women prefer a man that is not to slender and not to brawny, somewhere in the

middle? (T/F)

3. There were no limitations to this study because the study group was representative of the overall population (T/F)

4. Based on women’s ratings of muscular and nonmuscular men,

A. Brawny and slender men were rated as more desirable than built and toned men

B. Nonmuscular men were rated as more dominant than muscular men

C. Among the muscular men, brawny men were rated the most volatile and toned

Men were rated the least volatile

D. Brawny men were perceived as being the most committed

5. Participants from this study attended:

A. LMU

B. UCLA

C. USC

D. UCSB

  6. Why was the use of electronically produced pictures of males a strength for this study?

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167

quiz answers
Quiz Answers

1. True

2. True

3. False

4. C.

5. B.

6. Because this minimizes confounds associated with images of real men and offers the ability to systematically vary levels of muscularity.

http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/8/1167