In a study published in the March 2009 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, several German psychology professors reported that they had discovered important quantifiable characteristics of an attractive female body. Their hope is that this could help plastic surgeons in evaluating women preoperatively to determine which body contouring procedures might best help a woman achieve a more attractive figure.
The study, conducted by the German psychologists from the University of Regensburg using their website (known in English as Beauty Check), used images of female figures with precisely controlled parameters that were then rated for attractiveness by website visitors. The figures were generated by taking a face-forward photograph of a woman in a bikini that was then morphed with software into 243 figure variations. With over 34,000 ratings, the psychologists used statistical analysis to identify the measurements that best accounted for users' ratings. They discovered that the most important ratios for determining the attractiveness of a feminine figure were the bust-to-underbust ratio, bust-to-waist ratio, and the waist-to-hip ratio. In addition, something they described as an "androgyny factor," which combines the most important characteristics of a feminine figure, was found to contribute significantly to the results.
The significance of these ratios is certainly clear to us, and may help to account for the popularity of plastic surgery procedures like breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tucks, all of which target the three most important ratios.
This is not the first time that the University of Regensburg psychologists have made important discoveries about beauty using computer-generated models. They were also responsible for debunking the "averageness" hypothesis that had gained popularity for a while. This hypothesis, based on evidence that people rated a computer-averaged face more attractive than individual photographs, even of recognized beauties, stated that the "average" person was the most attractive. This theory seems intuitively to be false, and University of Regensburg psychologists showed why the results were skewed. In averaging the photographs, the computer software smoothed blemishes and imperfections in the skin, an effect that increased with the more source images used. The averaging also tended to increase the symmetry of the faces. So people were selecting averaged faces not because they were average, but because they were symmetrical and had beautiful skin.
New York plastic surgeon Dr. George Lefkovits doesn't use computer software to tell you what you should be, but through years of study and practice he has gained an intuitive sense of beauty, and how best to achieve it for his patients. If you would like to learn more, schedule a body contouring consultation today.