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Australia Science Technology

Avatars Used For Australian Online Sex Appeal Study 175

An anonymous reader writes "Australian scientists are seeking volunteers online to help them better understand sexual attraction. At a specially created website — — users can go online and make their own ratings of computer-generated avatar images of men and women of greatly varying shapes, sizes, and proportions. The bodyLab team will analyse and compile the results and each month will cull about half of the images — those that are least popular — and virtually 'breed' new body shapes from parent avatars with features rated as most attractive by people taking part in the experiment. Over time, the scientists hope thousands of users will help them work through six or more generations of avatars to narrow down the special combinations of features that make up the 'ideal' body — although they're keeping an open mind about whether several combinations will emerge."
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Avatars Used For Australian Online Sex Appeal Study

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  • by InfoJunkie777 ( 1435969 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:40AM (#32217744)

    Its honestly quite difficult to tell which grey cartoon body model is more attractive. I tried doing it, but I really just felt like I was making the ratings up...There are a few that looked like ogres that I could tell weren't attractive to me, but honestly that was about it.

    I think you may have proved the point of the study. It is a study of body type perception. Many DID look similar, but I tried my best to be honest and rate it according my preference. Whether that is a general perception, the study will no doubt determine over time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:52AM (#32217786)

    I tried rating 4 different sets of models and I just couldn't find any that I could honestly rate above a 0. No matter what sized model I was shown, it seemed like there was something decidedly strange, disproportionate unattractive about their characteristics.

    Then it hit me: It's the posture. The "blender pose" is just not a way that real humans go around holding their body. It seems fake, shows off all the wrong parts of the body, and exaggerates features of the model that would appear normally proportioned in a regular standing pose.

    Given that (imo) gaping flaw in the dataset, I predict this will turn out to be another junk project that spawns CNN headlines like "Scientists find the perfect bodytype, and it's not what you expect!".

  • by DeadboltX ( 751907 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @04:11AM (#32218038)
    You should be shown 2 or more models at a time and be asked to choose the best looking one. Rating each one individually on a scale is worthless.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @04:39AM (#32218108)

    I just felt mean at the end of that.

    The men were terrifyingly triangular with shoulders that couldn't fit through doorways, or emancipated starving old men, or jello-molds of boomer-villains. The women were even worse -- board-straight, afterthoughts for boobs, not a curve to be found anywhere. 100 ratings of models for each sex, and not a single creature rated above 1.

    I enjoy being as catty as the next woman -- I spent my afternoon drinking coffee and taunting the terrible, terrible fashion choices of this year's prom-going crowd and their awful gladiator stripper heels -- but that's because I'm dismayed by people making themselves look like shit. But these models are hopeless! Someone pointed out the terrible posture, someone else the tiny, tiny feet, but the very worst bit was the proportions. Many, many body types can be attractive, but only if it looks like all the pieces belong on the same body. I feel sad for these little hypothetical grey people, and their Frankenstein'ed limbs, stretched shoulders, and weirdly defined gauntness.

    And I feel mean for judging them so harshly. They can't help it that the researchers are dicks who purposely made this a game of "not-hot, or event not-hotter?"

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @05:35AM (#32218292) Homepage

    The results of this experiment will be a perfectly statistical model of the ideal female for 20-30 year old guys living in their parents' basement who could only dream of even the ugliest of those bodies.

  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @08:26AM (#32218866)

    Well coming to think of it, they may get better results by showing two models each time, and then to ask you to choose which one is the more attractive of the two.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @08:50AM (#32218954) Journal

    The final figure will be of a women of normal enough proportions not to give serious artifacts in the base model being stretched but as slim as possible.

    That is the problem with trying to use base model for all body types you want to create. You can't because the curves don't curve. It is why TES (Fallout 3) has whole body replacers and 3d renders have a lot of different body types made by third parties. Because you can't just take a full figured body and turn it into a slim one with things looking odd.

    It is also known that standing straight up like this is both unnatural and unattractive. There is a reason Playboy never uses a pose like this and only the most hardup jack-off to medical/photograph reference books.

    The ideal "western" body type is already well known. Bar the fatty lovers, on the whole men tend to prefer women that do not get harpooned when they go swimming in the sea. What a suprise.

    this experiment would be a whole lot more intresting if they had generated better bodies, not just stretch one base model into freaks (some of the builds are impossible, I seen several females with a inward crotch where as even slender women tend to curve out there).

    You would get a better result with displaying all the playmaters from Playboy, then you could get a real feeling for how tastes changed. But that study already has been done by the editors, you can see the body shape changing over the years. Tit size has also gone down. When they could show more of the rest, the size of the tits got less important and since big tits are basically fat, this means the body weight could go down as well.

    Don't they have Playboy in Australia? Would explain a lot.

  • by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @11:23AM (#32219808) Homepage Journal

    I guess that beauty isn't really in the eye of the beholder anymore. I'm reticent to rate anyone in this study because I don't see anything good coming of it.

    In the first place, science has no place rating attractiveness. Beauty is *supposed* to be subjective, not objective. Imagine, for a moment if how someone might feel if their body shape had been *scientifically proven* unattractive. Nothing good can come of this.

    Speaking of nothing good, we've seen how women are especially sensitive to body image. Normally, it's been an anecdotal thing, but this could be a cosmetic marketer's wet dream come true. The entire cosmetics industry - including cosmetic surgery - relies heavily on women being unable to see themselves as naturally beautiful; if there was some ostensibly *objective* way of showing a woman to be, shall we say, less-than-optimally-attractive, there would of course arise a large demand for whatever product or service "corrected" the problem. Instead of seeing the natural variety in body shape, they'd all appear about the same. Which would frustrate the many men and women who find society's idea of an attractive body, well, rather plain and uninteresting.

  • by Illogical Spock ( 1058270 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:43PM (#32220830)

    Rating females, the only real differences I could spot was the proportion between waist and hip and the overall chubiness in each model. I couldn't spot any breast size differences, nor any other detail that could led me to prefer this or that model.

    I could rate them in a logical way, but based only in these two characteristics. But, in the real world, I can say that sometimes I see women that would be rated +3 if they were just a grey body in my screen, but due to her face, lack of charm, etc, In fact don't arouse me at all. And, in the other hand, I can remember some slightly-to-moderate chubby girls that drove me crazy for being beauties, or very sexy, or just plain sexual.

    That said, I really believe this experiment will only work if they have ther phases where we can rate complete models, not just outlines. And where breats sizes and ass sizes change. ;-)

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @03:02PM (#32221330) Journal

    I guess that beauty isn't really in the eye of the beholder anymore.

    It never was. You're buying into a myth, and claiming we shouldn't do anything to up-end that same myth.

    Scientists have known for many years that beauty is directly related to body proportions, and symmetry. While we get examples of overweight people, or those with massive rings in their lips being attractive, that is really an example of wealth being attractive, and unrelated to beauty.

    Imagine, for a moment if how someone might feel if their body shape had been *scientifically proven* unattractive.

    I fail to see why some teen-aged girl is going to logically evaluate a scientific study, and then have some extremely emotional reaction, stronger than she would about her peers laughing and whispering about her... Your premise makes no sense, and your political correctness/think of the children circuit has gone haywire.

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