Evolution and Human Behavior

Volume 27, Issue 6 , November 2006, Pages 443-456





Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Original article


Changing perceptions of attractiveness as observers are exposed to a different culture


Martin J. Tovˇe , Viren Swamib, Adrian Furnhamc and Roshila Mangalparsadd


The fact that Zulu migrants into Britain seem to have modified their preferences and the fact that the Britons of African origin have the same preferences as the UK Caucasians imply that these preferences are part of a flexible behavioral repertoire, acquired through social learning, which allows humans to adapt and respond to changing conditions within an environment or when moving between environments. In this case, the change in preferences is likely to be mediated both by social interactions and the media environment. The Western media emphasize a preference for a slim and shapely body as the female ideal, and the ubiquitous nature of this ideal in television, magazines, and advertisements is likely to accelerate the putative changes to attractiveness preferences (Barber, 1998, Silverstein et al., 1986 and Tovˇe et al., 1997).


(JL Darwin (1871)also believed that cultural preferences were very important in sexual selection.)