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Department of Cognitive Science

Seminar Abstract

Lumbar curvature: An evolved standard of attractiveness.

Speaker : Dr David Lewis, School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University.
Date : 2nd of October 2017, 12:00PM until 1:00PM
Location : SSCI:214 Seminar Room, Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia.

    In this talk, I will present multiple studies supporting the thesis that human standards of attractiveness reflect the output of psychological adaptations to detect fitness-relevant traits. Specifically, I tested novel a priori hypotheses based on an adaptive problem uniquely faced by ancestral hominin females: a forward-shifted centre of mass during pregnancy. The hominin female spine possesses evolved morphology to deal with this adaptive challenge wedging in the third-to-last lumbar vertebra which would have minimized the net fitness threats posed by hypolordosis and hyperlordosis. This, in turn, would have created selection pressures for the evolution of a male mate preference for cues to these underlying spinal structures. On this basis, I hypothesized that men possess an evolved mate preference for women who exhibit an angle of lumbar curvature that is biomechanically optimum for dealing with the adaptive problem of pregnancy. Multiple independent studies employing distinct methods, as well as both static and dynamic stimuli, have discriminatively supported this hypothesis, revealing a novel, theoretically anchored, and previously undiscovered standard of attractiveness. Discussion will centre on future directions and alternative evolutionary explanations, including lumbar curvature as a cue to sexual proceptivity.

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    Email : cogsci@mq.edu.au
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