Macquarie University
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The role of body posture in perceptions of attractiveness and self-esteem

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posted on 2022-03-28, 18:01 authored by Eva Tzschaschel
Attractiveness is hypothesised as a mechanism for identifying healthy, fertile mates, with cues from faces and bodies to physiological and psychological health. Little is known about the impact of body posture on attractiveness. Participants (N=108) were photographed twice in profile in their natural and corrected posture, and completed a validated self-esteem questionnaire using three scales from the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP,1992/2017): The Physical Attractiveness (Rational Scale; IPIP, 1992/2017; Goldberg et al.,2006), the Self-esteem scale (IPIP, 1992/2017; Rosenberg, 1965), and the Self-Consciousness (IPIP, 1992/2017; Buss, 1980) scale, In addition, the State Self-Esteem Scale (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991) was administered. In Study 1, a correlational design, 38 observers rated the attractiveness of the natural posture photographs. Those whose natural posture was more upright were perceived as more attractive and higher self-esteem. A mediation analysis ascertained whether posture mediated the relationship between attractiveness and self-esteem, and showed that self-rated self-esteem predicts rated attractiveness and rated self-esteem as well as posture predict perceived self-esteem and attractiveness. The indirect effect of self ratedself-esteem on perceived attractiveness via posture was not significant. In Study 2, an experimental design, 41 observers completed a forced-choice task, choosing upright postureas more attractive and higher self-esteem. However, people who have higher self-esteem do not stand more upright. Therefore, posture is probably not a valid cue to self-esteem. Possible explanations for the perception of upright posture as attractive and high in self-esteem are discussed.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Methods -- 3. General discussion -- References -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 59-77 Empirical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Ian Stephen


Copyright Eva Tzschaschel 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (vi, 102 pages) black and white illustrations

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