High heels as supernormal stimuli: how wearing high heels affects judgements of female attractiveness

Morris, Paul, White, Jenny, Morrison, Ed and Fisher, K. (2013) High heels as supernormal stimuli: how wearing high heels affects judgements of female attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34 (3). pp. 176-181. ISSN 1090-5138 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.11.006

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Abstract

There is a strong contemporary association between high heels and female sexuality. We investigated the hypothesis that one motivation for women wearing high heels is that it artificially increases the femininity of gait. We isolated the effects of heels on gait using point-light methodology. Females were recorded walking in flat shoes and high heels. Participants viewed point-light videos of the women wearing the two types of shoe. Participants judged the females in the heels condition as significantly more attractive (with a large effect size) than the females in the flat shoe condition. Biomechanical analyses revealed that wearing high heels led to increased femininity of gait including reduced stride length and increased rotation and tilt of the hips. We conclude that high heels exaggerate sex specific aspects of female gait and women walking in high heels could be regarded as a supernormal stimulus.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Psychology
Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Science > Department of Sports and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Ed Morrison
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2013 11:49
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2016 16:16
URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/10271

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