Are long legs sexy?

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It has been shown that height is one of the morphological traits that influence a person’s attractiveness. To date, few studies have addressed the relationship between different components of height and physical attractiveness. Here, we study how leg length influences attractiveness in men and women. Stimuli consisted of seven different pictures of a man and seven pictures of a woman in which the ratio between leg length and height was varied from the average phenotype by elongating and shortening the legs. One hundred men and 118 women were asked to assess the attractiveness of the silhouettes using a seven-point scale. We found that male and female pictures with shorter than average legs were perceived as less attractive by both sexes. Although longer legs appeared to be more attractive, this was true only for the slight (5%) leg length increase; excessively long legs decreased body attractiveness for both sexes. Because leg length conveys biological quality, we hypothesize that such preferences reflect the workings of evolved mate-selection mechanisms. Short and/or excessively long legs might indicate maladaptive biological conditions such as genetic diseases, health problems, or weak immune responses to adverse environmental factors acting during childhood and adolescence.

Source: “Adaptive preferences for leg length in a potential partner” from Evolution and Human Behavior

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