Natural and Augmented Breasts: Is What is Not Natural Most Attractive? (2012)

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James Francis Doyle, Farid Pazhoohi


Natural and augmented breasts differ in size and shape. Natural breasts are characterized by concave-to-straight upper-pole contours while augmented breasts are fuller and therefore may have convex upper-pole contours, irrespective of their size. The hypothesis that augmented breasts in a range of cup sizes are rated significantly more attractive than naturalistic breasts was investigated and confirmed using computer generated images of breasts in lateral-view by all males and females cross-culturally in English and Farsi speaking samples. Correlations were then used to show that, for all participants, breast area and breast displacement (concavity or convexity) are positively correlated with attractiveness ratings for natural but not augmented breasts. These results are counter-intuitive since humans could not have evolved in environments that included augmented breasts. The findings are introduced using the ethological concept of supernormal stimuli and the behaviorist/neuroaesthetic principle, the peak shift effect, applied to secondary sexual characteristics (i.e., waist-hip ratios and breasts) and it is concluded that augmented breasts, though deceptive signals of fertility, are supernormal stimuli.




The paper, "Natural and Augmented Breasts: Is what is Not natural most attractive?", is mostly applicable to static images. The paper linked below shows how moving bodies may create supernormal stimuli by through peak shift effects.


James F. Doyle1 Independent Researcher

Abstract: Men are attracted to the movements of women’s bodies. The aim of this paper is to answer the question: what is the mechanism? The role of the peak shift effect in perceptions of physical attractiveness involving women’s waist-to-hip ratios (WHRs) in biological motion is presented. Photographs of a coordinated motor pattern, walking, are investigated with a novel measurement method. Evidence is presented that the behavior pattern contains alternating left and right side, attractive (S+) and unattractive (S-), WHR stimuli. A WHR stimulus range is established that is sufficient to generate peak shift effects in perceptions of physical attractiveness. It is predicted that WHRs in attractive behavior patterns will be significantly lower than those previously found to be preferred using 0.70 WHR still images. Therefore WHRs in motion represent S++, or “supernormal stimuli”, in behavior.

Keywords: ethology, supernormal stimuli, WHR, peak shift, physical attractiveness, behavior patterns.