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Aggression Type Influences Perceptions of a Woman’s Body Size, Personality, and Behavior:

Aggression Type Influences Perceptions of a Woman’s Body Size, Personality, and Behavior: Although women engage in both physical and nonphysical aggression, little is known about how aggression type influences perceptions of their morphology, personality, and social behavior. Evolutionary theory predicts that women avoid physical aggression due to risk of injury, which could compromise reproductive success. Engaging in physical aggression might therefore decrease women’s perceived mate value. However, physical aggression could be advantageous for some women, such as those who are larger in size and less vulnerable to injury. This presents the possibility that physically aggressive women might be perceived as larger and not necessarily lower in mate value. These hypotheses have not been tested. Across three studies, I used narratives to test the effect of aggression type (physical, verbal, indirect, nonaggressive) on perceptions of women’s height, weight, masculinity, attractiveness, and social status. In Studies 1 and 2, participants perceived a physically aggressive woman to be both larger and more masculine than nonphysically aggressive women. In Study 3, participants perceived both a physically aggressive woman and a nonaggressive woman to be larger than an indirectly aggressive woman; the effect of aggression type on perceptions of a hypothetical man’s height was not significant. I also found some evidence that aggression type influenced perceptions of attractiveness and social status, but these were small and inconsistent effects that warrant further study. Taken together, the results suggest that physical and indirect aggressive behavior may be associated with certain morphological and behavioral profiles in women. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evolutionary Psychology SAGE

Aggression Type Influences Perceptions of a Woman’s Body Size, Personality, and Behavior:

Evolutionary Psychology , Volume 18 (2): 1 – May 7, 2020

Aggression Type Influences Perceptions of a Woman’s Body Size, Personality, and Behavior:

Evolutionary Psychology , Volume 18 (2): 1 – May 7, 2020

Abstract

Although women engage in both physical and nonphysical aggression, little is known about how aggression type influences perceptions of their morphology, personality, and social behavior. Evolutionary theory predicts that women avoid physical aggression due to risk of injury, which could compromise reproductive success. Engaging in physical aggression might therefore decrease women’s perceived mate value. However, physical aggression could be advantageous for some women, such as those who are larger in size and less vulnerable to injury. This presents the possibility that physically aggressive women might be perceived as larger and not necessarily lower in mate value. These hypotheses have not been tested. Across three studies, I used narratives to test the effect of aggression type (physical, verbal, indirect, nonaggressive) on perceptions of women’s height, weight, masculinity, attractiveness, and social status. In Studies 1 and 2, participants perceived a physically aggressive woman to be both larger and more masculine than nonphysically aggressive women. In Study 3, participants perceived both a physically aggressive woman and a nonaggressive woman to be larger than an indirectly aggressive woman; the effect of aggression type on perceptions of a hypothetical man’s height was not significant. I also found some evidence that aggression type influenced perceptions of attractiveness and social status, but these were small and inconsistent effects that warrant further study. Taken together, the results suggest that physical and indirect aggressive behavior may be associated with certain morphological and behavioral profiles in women.

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SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © 2022 by SAGE Publications Inc., unless otherwise noted. Manuscript content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons Licenses
ISSN
1474-7049
eISSN
1474-7049
DOI
10.1177/1474704920917930
Publisher site
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Abstract

Although women engage in both physical and nonphysical aggression, little is known about how aggression type influences perceptions of their morphology, personality, and social behavior. Evolutionary theory predicts that women avoid physical aggression due to risk of injury, which could compromise reproductive success. Engaging in physical aggression might therefore decrease women’s perceived mate value. However, physical aggression could be advantageous for some women, such as those who are larger in size and less vulnerable to injury. This presents the possibility that physically aggressive women might be perceived as larger and not necessarily lower in mate value. These hypotheses have not been tested. Across three studies, I used narratives to test the effect of aggression type (physical, verbal, indirect, nonaggressive) on perceptions of women’s height, weight, masculinity, attractiveness, and social status. In Studies 1 and 2, participants perceived a physically aggressive woman to be both larger and more masculine than nonphysically aggressive women. In Study 3, participants perceived both a physically aggressive woman and a nonaggressive woman to be larger than an indirectly aggressive woman; the effect of aggression type on perceptions of a hypothetical man’s height was not significant. I also found some evidence that aggression type influenced perceptions of attractiveness and social status, but these were small and inconsistent effects that warrant further study. Taken together, the results suggest that physical and indirect aggressive behavior may be associated with certain morphological and behavioral profiles in women.

Journal

Evolutionary PsychologySAGE

Published: May 7, 2020

Keywords: aggression; body size; women; masculinity; social status; attractiveness

References