Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reward centers in men activated by optimal hip-to-waist ratio in women

Observations from Platek and Singh add to the evolutionary psychologists' discussion of determinants of men's sexual preferences. They take male preference for lower hip waist ratio in females (as indicative of reproductive quality) to be culturally universal, but I recall debate on this point, and indeed find that debate covered by cited references (17,18) at the end of the article. Their core observation is that when men view photographs of women after and before plastic surgery to achieve an optimal (~0.7) waist to hip ratio (with redistributed body fat but relatively unaffected body mass index), an increase in activation of brain rewards centers can be observed. They suggest their observations "are the first description of a neural correlate implicating waist to hip ratio as a putative honest biological signal of female reproductive viability and its effects on men's neurological processing."

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