Sex difference in attractiveness perceptions of strong and weak male walkers
Objectives: Men and women accurately assess male physical strength from facial
and body morphology cues.Women’s assessments of male facial attractiveness, masculinity,
and dominance correlate positively with male physical strength. A positive
relationship also has been reported between physical strength and attractiveness of
men’s dance movements. Here, we investigate men’s and women’s attractiveness,
dominance, and strength assessments from brief samples of male gait.
Methods: Handgrip strength (HGS) was measured in 70 heterosexual men and their
gait was motion-captured. Men and women judged 20 precategorized strong (high
HGS) and weak (low HGS) walkers on attractiveness, dominance, and strength, and
provided a measure of their own HGS.
Results: Both men and women judged strong walkers higher on dominance and
strength than weak walkers. Women but not men judged strong walkers more attractive
than weak walkers. These effects were independent of observers’ physical
Conclusions: Male physical strength is conveyed not only through facial and body
morphology, but also through body movements. We discuss our findings with reference
to studies suggesting that physical strength provides information about male
quality in contexts of inter- and intrasexual selection.