Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Annals of false advertising, through the hour-glass

Here, using fMRI, we found that males show activation in brain reward centers in response to naked female bodies when surgically altered to express an optimal (~0.7) WHR [waist to hip ratio] with redistributed body fat, but relatively unaffected body mass index (BMI). Relative to presurgical bodies, brain activation to postsurgical bodies was observed in bilateral orbital frontal cortex. While changes in BMI only revealed activation in visual brain substrates, changes in WHR revealed activation in the anterior cingulate cortex, an area associated with reward processing and decision-making.
Read it all here.

The study used images that were used in an earlier study, Beauty is in the Eye of the Plastic Surgeon:
To evaluate the role of WHR, independent of BMI, we secured photographs of pre- and post-operative women who have undergone micro-fat grafting surgery. In this surgery, surgeons harvest fat tissue from the waist region and implant it on the buttocks. Post-operatively, all women have a lower WHR but some gain weight whereas others lose body weight. Results indicate that participants judge post-operative photographs as more attractive than pre-operative photographs, independent of post-operative changes in body weight or BMI. These results indicate that WHR is a key feature of women’s attractiveness.

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