Allure of avatar to unlock secrets of sex

May 14, 2010 By Bob Beale

(PhysOrg.com) -- There's more to what makes a man or woman attractive than mere shape or weight, but what else do we take into account when we make that judgement?

That's what a team of Sydney scientists is trying to find out and they're inviting internet users from all over the world to volunteer to help them by taking part in a unique .

At a specially created website - www.bodylab.biz - anyone can go online and make their own ratings of computer-generated images of men and women of greatly varying shapes, sizes and proportions. The images are produced with the same sophisticated software used in computer games and by fashion designers to create human avatars.

The bodyLab team will analyse and compile the results and each month they will cull about half of the images - those that are least popular - and virtually "breed" new body shapes from "parent" avatars with features rated as most by people taking part in the experiment.

Over time, the scientists hope thousands of users will help them work through six or more "generations" of avatars to narrow down the special combinations of features that make up the "ideal" body - although they're keeping an open mind about whether several combinations will emerge.

bodyLab is a non-for-profit project based at the UNSW Evolution and Ecology Research Centre. It is the brainchild of Juliette Shelly and the centre's director, Professor Rob Brooks, who has a special interest in , sexual competition and .

"Our judgments and decisions about attractiveness permeate almost all our social interactions as well as many commercial decisions that affect our lives," says Professor Brooks. "Despite all the novels, poems, films and love songs devoted to the subject, we know surprisingly little about attractiveness in a scientific sense.

"We've all heard experts talk about measures such as (BMI) or waist-hip ratio (WHR) and how they affect our perceptions of others. But obviously there's a whole lot more to attractiveness than numbers - people are attracted by a whole package of things.

"We are trying to understand how all the traits that make up a body combine to influence attractiveness. That would have scientific significance in its own right, but our results may also have useful real-world applications. It could help, for example, help people to choose clothes that best complement their bodies, or help people with image problems see that there are many different kinds of attractiveness."

Explore further: Study first to use brain scans to forecast early reading difficulties

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The importance of attractiveness depends on where you live

Dec 15, 2009

Do good-looking people really benefit from their looks, and in what ways? A team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas found that yes; attractive people do tend to have more social relationships ...

Psychologists reveal the secret of successful wooing

Feb 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new University of Sussex study shows that,without being consciously aware, we change our judgment of a person's attractiveness based on what they do, not their physical characteristics.

Recommended for you

Blood test spots adult depression

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A new blood test is the first objective scientific way to diagnose major depression in adults, a new study claims.

Job stress not the only cause of burnouts at work

11 hours ago

Impossible deadlines, demanding bosses, abusive colleagues, unpaid overtime—all these factors can lead to a burnout. When it comes to mental health in the workplace, we often forget to consider the influence of home life.

Web technology offers mental health support

15 hours ago

A web based application connecting people with potential mental health issues to clinical advice and support networks has been created by researchers at Aston and Warwick universities.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ThanderMAX
not rated yet May 15, 2010
I think , the outcome of the result will be hip-waist ratio ,symmetry and shape of face.

But, alas this project only depends on body-shape.
Bookbinder
not rated yet May 15, 2010
I've done the rating and have some comments.
1. The Beetle is a very poor metric. I remember one from my childhood, but of course it was a lot "bigger" then. My best selection was 6" shorter than my real life choices (men). Some other metric needs to be found. maybe even a ruler.
2. The females were huge, especially their butts. Didn't see anyone like what I see around me. (slender, athletic)
3. Forced choice (from a lineup) would produce better results in picking a best. One automatically does comparisons, but it would be better if one were not comparing in one's head.