More than just skin deep? Personality information influences men's ratings of the attractiveness of women's body sizes

J Soc Psychol. Nov-Dec 2010;150(6):628-47. doi: 10.1080/00224540903365497.


This study examined the influence of personality information on perceptions of the physical attractiveness of a range of female body sizes. A sample of 2,157 male university students were randomly assigned to one of 10 groups in which they received personality information about women they were rating, or a control group in which they received no personality information. Controlling for participants' age and body mass index, results showed no significant between-group differences in the body size that participants found most attractive. However, participants provided with positive personality information perceived a wider range of body sizes as physically attractive compared with the control group, whereas participants provided with negative personality information perceived a narrower range of body sizes as attractive. Correlations showed that participants' own Extraversion was associated with their body size ratings. These results suggest that non-physical cues have an influence on the perception of physical beauty.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beauty*
  • Body Size*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Personality*
  • Social Desirability*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult