Natural and Augmented Breasts: Is What is Not Natural Most Attractive?

Abstract: Natural and augmented breasts differ in size and shape. Natural breasts are characterized by concave-to-straight upper-pole contours while augmented breasts are fuller and therefore may have convex upper-pole contours, irrespective of their size. The hypothesis that augmented breasts in a range of cup sizes are rated significantly more attractive than naturalistic breasts was investigated and confirmed using computer generated images of breasts in lateral-view by all males and females cross-culturally in English and Farsi speaking samples. Correlations were then used to show that, for all participants, breast area and breast displacement (concavity or convexity) are positively correlated with attractiveness ratings for natural but not augmented breasts. These results are counter-intuitive since humans could not have evolved in environments that included augmented breasts. The findings are introduced using the ethological concept of supernormal stimuli and the behaviorist/neuroaesthetic principle, the peak shift effect, applied to secondary sexual characteristics (i.e., waist-hip ratios and breasts) and it is concluded that augmented breasts, though deceptive signals of fertility, are supernormal stimuli.

Key words: breasts, supernormal stimuli, peak shift, plastic surgery.

Full paper (Here)

"If firmer breasts are more prominent than softer breasts and larger breasts tend to be less firm than smaller breasts and both less firm and older, more ptotic, breasts are less prominent, a more horizontal (straighter) top line contour could serve as a signal of youth (and firmness) and reproductive readiness irrespective of size. However, smaller breasts will tend to be less fatty breasts but not necessarily less prominent -for their size compared to larger breasts- but would be a less abundant store of energy. Marlowe suggests an additional reason for the attractiveness of breasts: breasts are a “supernormal stimuli”." (Doyle & Pazhoohi, 2012)

Example stimuli showing naturalistic and augmented breasts in A, B, C and D cup sizes. Breast area and breast displacement (see image below) measures are shown below each image.

Cup SizeABCD
Naturalistic Stimuli
na

Breast Area ~279,174px2 Breast Displacement ~6,647px2

Breast Area ~315,299px2 Breast Displacement ~6,069px2

Breast Area ~315,299px2
Breast Displacement ~6,069px2


Breast Area ~345,933px2 Breast Displacement ~6,069px2

Breast Area ~345,933px2
Breast Displacement ~6,069px2


Breast Area ~454,019px2 Breast Displacement ~ 10,982px2

Breast Area ~454,019px2
Breast Displacement ~ 10,982px2

     
Augmented Stimuli
Breast Area ~366,163 px2 Breast Displacement ~3,757 px2

Breast Area ~366,163 px2
Breast Displacement ~3,757 px2


Breast Area ~354,603 px2 Breast Displacement ~4,624px2

Breast Area ~354,603 px2
Breast Displacement ~4,624px2


Breast Area ~433,211 px2 Breast Displacement ~9,826 px2

Breast Area ~433,211 px2
Breast Displacement ~9,826 px2

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Breast Area ~512,397 px2 Breast Displacement ~10,693 px2

     

Example of displacement (a measure of the perpendicular distance, “from the point of greatest concavity or convexity to a line drawn from the nipple to the superior base” (Hsia & Thomson, 2003, p. 313).

Re-creation of Hsia and Thompson (2002).

Re-creation of Hsia and Thompson (2003).

 

Doyle, J. & Pazhoohi, F., (2012). Natural and Augmented Breasts: Is what is not natural most attractive. Human Ethology Bulletin, 27, (4), 4-14.

Hsia, H. C. & Thomson, G. J., (2003). Differences in breast shape preferences between plastic surgeons and patients seeking breast augmentation. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 112(1), 312-320.