In a recent study, British researchers discovered that men who are under a great deal of stress prefer a wide variety of female body types. In fact, according to the BBC, men who are particularly stressed out about one thing or another are actually drawn to larger women. Although a lot of people tend to believe that our body mass index (BMI) preferences are pre-programmed, study co-author Dr Martin Tovee feels differently.
“If you look at environments where food is scarce, people’s preferences for body size in a potential partner are shifted. [The preference] appears to be much heavier compared to environments where there’s plenty of food and a much more relaxed atmosphere,” Tovee explained to the BBC.
He added, “If you’re living a far more stressful, subsistence lifestyle, you’re going to have higher stress levels.”
In order to test this theory, several men were placed into high-stress situations such as interviews and public speaking scenarios. These environmental conditions, when compared to men with low levels of stress, seemed to alter the test subjects’ weight preference.
Following the aforementioned situations, the subjects were given a collection of photographs featuring a bevy of different females. The stressed out gentlemen were asked to pick which woman they thought was most attractive, after which they were instructed to rate the largest and the thinnest figures they liked. The control group, meanwhile, was asked only to rank the photographs.
The result: Guys who were wallowing in stress seemed to be more attracted to heavier women than those in the control group. In fact, according to CBS News, the test subjects seemed to appreciate a wider spectrum of body types than those individuals who were calm, cool, and collected.
However, the study hasn’t told researchers if the same rules apply to stressed out women. Dr. Tovee did say the research was important in the understanding of how environmental changes can effect what people find attractive.