Re: Madison Ave.Love (was) True love may just be all in your head

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 18:47:59 MDT

Spike Jones <> writes:

> > Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > The waist/hip ratio might be one of those things that we tend to seek
> > supernormal signals for, while the face seems to be one we seek the
> > pefect average.
> I may have an explanation for this. Surely sexual preferences are
> hard wired in our brains, by some mysterious means. Isnt it curious
> that in general men prefer women who are thinner than the average
> woman, but women prefer men who are closer to the average man?
> First of all, in your opinion, is this observation correct?

I'm not certain of this. Remember Venus from Willhelmsdorf and the
Rubenesque ladies - it might be just something local to our current

> If so, then:
> We can imagine a population of chimps wherein there is initially
> no overall preference for females with narrow waist, that is to say,
> half the males prefer females with small waist, half the males prefer
> females with large waist. Over many generations of chimpy
> behavior, the thin-female-preferrers would have a slightly greater
> chance of passing on his hard-wired preference, for the thin
> waisted females are less pregnant, that is less likely to be *already
> carrying* the offspring of a different male. Over time, the population
> might as a whole prefer the thins.

But this ignores that chimps have quite clear systems of signalling
sexual readiness (and I guess pregnancy), I think the fitness increase
of preferring thing-waisted females would be very slight. Also,
remember that a fat female implies she can gather much food, which in
turn means that she likely can provide for the offspring (chimp males
are very much "wham, bam, thank you mam'" :-).

> If this can happen in chimps, could it not occur in humans?
> What say ye? spike

Could be, although for the above reasons I'm sceptical. I think it is
more of a culture thing. Other beauty signals (like a good hair and a
symmetric face) are likely much more genetically controlled.

I like the idea of doing a monte carlo simulation. Maybe you could try
adding some more appearance parameters and see what happens?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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