Attractiveness of Person Influenced by Shared Posture
Christopher Philip

Some things are known and well studied. For example, we know that symmetry of a body is attractive, as is the relative length of the legs to body (long legs in women is attractive), however, science is finding other factors also influence our perception of attraction.

In their study, researchers Marco Bertamini, Christopher Byrne, and Kate Bennett, University of Liverpool found that while relative leg length and symmetry is found to be attractive, as in other studies, the posture in which people viewed them, also mattered.

In their study, 112 participants viewed computer generated female bodies varied in terms of symmetry and leg-to-body ratio. Also, the posture of the images were varied to either be sitting or standing.

Results found that sharing the same posture as the computer generated image mattered.

“The difference in the posture of the participants increased the perceived attractiveness of the images sharing the same posture, despite the fact that participants were unaware that their posture was relevant for the experiment,” say the researchers in their paper.

The results support the idea that embodied perceptions of attractiveness through posture similarity – even in static images affects or perceptions. The findings also support the mirroring effect which says that we tend to feel more empathy toward those whose postures are similar to our own. This first discovered in monkeys. Here mirror neurons found in the premotor cortex of the brain activate when both performing an action (or posture) as well as viewing an action.

“This theory suggests that simulation plays a key role in understanding others, in empathy, and in social interactions,” say the researchers.

In other recent research it was found that when participants mirror the actions of a painter, such as using stroking, stippling motions, this increased the appreciation of the resulting work of art.

There is also plenty of evidence supporting mimicry generally that dates back to the 1970s which finds that adopting similar posture, gestures and motions increases feelings of empathy and liking.

Resources

Bertamini, Christopher Byrne, and Kate Bennett. Attractiveness is influenced by the relationship between postures of the viewer and the viewed person. i-Perception. 2013. 4: 170–179.

Leder, H., Bär, S., & Topolinski, S. (2012). Covert painting simulations influence aesthetic appreciation of artworks. Psychological Science, 23(12), 1479–1481. doi:10.1177/0956797612452866.