It appears that beauty does not just lie in the eyes of the beholder. A perception of a woman's attractiveness can also be influenced by whether or not the beholding man has an empty stomach, findings of a new study suggest.
The study was presented at the Cheltenham Science Festival, which ran June 2-7, and found that men who are hungry tend to find larger and more voluptuous women attractive.
"Hunger can change your perception of who is attractive," said psychologist Viren Swami, from Westminster University, who conducted the study. "If a man is hungry they prefer slightly larger breast size in women. They also prefer slightly larger women in general."
The same also goes true with women, as they are likely to go for men with a bigger and heavier build when they are famished. Don't fret if your partner finds somebody bigger than you more attractive when he is hungry, though, because the spell that large individuals cast on hungry people starts to wane once they've feed and satisfied their hunger.
For his study, Swami showed cartoon images of women to 266 men and asked them to rate the women's attractiveness. He observed that men who were hungrier tend to find larger women with bigger breasts attractive. Swami likewise noted that the attraction for bigger individuals declined after the participants had eaten a good meal.
Swami opined that people who are hungry may subconsciously look for a partner that can provide them the food that they need at the moment, and larger people appear to be associated with nourishment.
Gareth Leng, from the University of Edinburgh, however, has a different explanation on why hungry people tend to be attracted to bigger individuals. He said that the part of the brain involved with sex drive also controls the appetite, which could explain the association between hunger and sexual attraction.
"There is a good piece of science behind it," Leng said. "Sex and hunger are two fundamental drives. It probably explains why we go for dinner and then want to have sex."
Swami said that the results of his study suggest that people tend to be attracted to larger members of the opposite sex when resources are scarce because bigger bodies indicate success in finding food. During hard economic times, women with large breasts and wide hips tend to be considered more desirable because they promise control, strength and wealth at a time when hunger is more prevalent.