Bust Size and Hitchhiking - Pr. Nicolas GUEGUEN

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Bust Size and Hitchhiking - Pr. Nicolas GUEGUEN

Bust Size and Hitchhiking: A field studyNicolas GuéguenUniversité de Bretagne SudThe official version of this article is available at:http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/pdf/10.2466/pms.105.4.1294-1298Cited as :Guéguen N. (2007). Bust size and hitchhiking: A field study, Perceptual and Motor Skills,105, 1294-1298. (doi: 10.2466/pms.105.4.1294-1298)SummaryTo test the effect of a woman's bust size on the rate of help offered, 1200 male andfemale French motorists were tested in a hitchhiking situation. A 20-yr.-old femaleconfederate wore a bra which permitted variation in the size of cup to vary her breast size.She stood by the side of a road frequented by hitchhikers and held out her thumb to catch aride. Increasing the bra-size of the female-hitchhiker was significantly associated with anincrease in number of male drivers, but not female drivers, who stopped to offer a ride.1


A host of previous studies show that men and women differ in several matepreferences across cultures. Men, more than women, value physical attractiveness in a mate,whereas women, more than men, value good financial prospects and higher status (Buss,1989; Kenrick, Groth, Trost, & Sadalla, 1993; Shackelford, Schmitt, & Buss, 2005). Thisimportance of physical attractiveness for men, therefore, leads them to react promptly tovarious differences in the physical appearance of women. Prior studies have indicateddifferent morphological features of women are associated with varied attractiveness for themen. Furnham, Lavancy, and McClelland (2001), Henss (2000), Singh (1993), and Singh andLuis (1995) reported that lower Waist-to-Hip ratio of women was associated with greaterphysical attractiveness when evaluated by men. A ratio of .70 may represent highattractiveness (Singh, 2002). Another important morphological factor associated with femaleattractiveness is breast size. Millsted and Frith (2003) consider that large breasts have becomeover-sexualised as highly prized objects of sexual desire. Previous researchers found thatfemales with large breasts are highly valued. Beck, Ward-Hull, and McLear (1976) noted thatmales rated a female’s figure with breasts larger than average breast size more favorably thanothers. Wildman and Wildman (1976) stated that the bust was the most sexually stimulatingfemale body part for males and that men preferred larger busts than women typically possesson the average. Gitter, Lomranz, Saxe, and Bar-Tal (1983) found that female figures withlarge breasts were preferred by males, whereas there was no such difference in women’spreferences. Furnham, Hester, and Weir (1990) also observed through men’s evaluation offemale silhouettes with three varying of size breast that males displayed a preference forlarger breasts. Given these studies, greater attractiveness seems associated with large breastsof women. Further, in previous studies evaluation scales have been considered but notbehavioral effects of breast size.When considering men’s with respect to women’s breast size only one experiment wasfound. Morgan, Lockard, Fahrenbruch, and Smith (1975) test of a female hitchhiker’s bustsize indicated male motorists offered rides more frequently to a female confederate with anaccentuated bust compared to a normal one. In the present experiment bust size was combinedwith eye contact (a female confederate with eye contact + an accentuated bust compared withanother female confederate with normal bust but no eye contact). Thus the effect of bust sizealone on men’s courtship behavior remains undetermined. Given that most studies testing theassociation of a woman’s breast size and attractiveness to males were conducted in alaboratory setting and only with the evaluation of silhouettes, photographs or writtendescriptions, it has became important to conduct experiment to assess this association of2


east size in a field setting, with more ecological validity and with behavioral measures. Theexperiment of Morgan, et al. (1975) was conducted in a field setting and used behavioralmeasurements but some methodological problems persisted in the evaluation of the role ofbreast size. The use of hitchhiking to explore the role of some psychological variables onhuman behavior is appropriate. The positive relation of nonverbal behavior such as gaze(Snyder, Grether, &Keller, 1974; Morgan, et al., 1975) or smile (Guéguen, 2001; Guéguen &Fischer-Lokou, 2004) and driver behavior was found. Apparel worn by the hitchhiker is alsoassociated with variation in motorist behavior (Crassweller, Gordon, & Tedford, 1972).Hitchhiking appeared to be a good setting to evaluate some social psychological variables andhuman behavior. Then testing the effect of the appearance of female-hitchhikers on maledrivers’ behavior seems suitable. On studies on hitchhiking, females received more rides thanmales (Clifford & Cleary, 1971; Pomazal & Clore, 1973; Snyder, et al., 1974; Morgan, et al.,1975; Guéguen, 2001; Guéguen & Fischer-Lokou, 2004) also drivers who offered help weremales.An evaluation of the effect of the bust size of a female hitchhiker was then carried outwhere the bust size of a female confederate was controlled experimentally. The experimentwas conducted in France where hitchhiking is legal and so one frequently sees hitchhikers onthe side of the road. Mermet (2006) found that 78.0 % of people have hitchhiked. Of themotorists who stopped, 96.3 % were males. According to previous studies it was hypothesizedthat increase in bust size would be associated with greater number of male drivers stopping tohelp the female hitchhiker, whereas no difference would be found for female drivers.MethodParticipantsDrivers (774 men and 426 women) solicited at the entry of a famous peninsula(“Presqu'Île de Rhuys”) of Brittany in France, were the participants. The experiment wasconducted during the beginning of the summer holidays on sunny days. The place in whichthe experiment was conducted was one at which hitchhikers waited for a motorist.Procedure3


A young woman of twenty year was a confederate in this experiment. She was selectedfrom members of a group of female students who volunteered for this experiment. She wasselected because she was rated by 15 male students to possess an average physicalattractiveness and because she had a bust size smaller than young women of their agetypically possess on the average. She usually wore bra with a “A” size cup which is in Francethe smaller cup of bra. By adding a latex leaf, size of the cup was increased to simulate a “B”size cup (the average cup in France) and the “C” size (the size immediately larger than theaverage size of the cup of young women in France). In the three experimental conditions,three different bras were used but they varied only according to size cup: the same model wasused. Except for the type of bra used according to the different experimental conditions, thesame clothes were worn, pair of neat jeans, sneakers of light colors, and a white figurehuggingshirt which highlighted the confederate bust. In the three experimental conditions, theconfederate was instructed not to use cosmetics, and her hair-style remained constant acrossconditions.The female confederate was stood at the side of the road in good visibility of motoristsand with a broad road zone, making a stop and restarting of vehicles quite easy and safe. Theexperiment took place between 2 p. m. and 6 p. m. during week ends on sunny pleasant daysin early summer. Two observers waiting in a car parked on the opposite side of the road 500meters behind the place at which the confederate stood, were instructed to count the numberof motorists on the opposite side and to note if the motorist was a man or a woman. Each ofthem used two hand-held counters (one to count the female motorists and the other to countthe male motorists). The convergence between the two observers’ evaluation was high (r =.98). The confederate was also instructed to count the number of motorists and to change herbra after 100 motorists passed along side of the road on which the experiment was carried out(about 40 to 50 minutes). When a car came, the confederate was instructed to hold her thumb(a nonverbal behavior that means in France somebody is a hitchhiker) and to look along theside of the road. That a driver stopped qualified the person as an helper. The confederate wasthen instructed to debrief the participant. She explained to the driver that she was conductingan experiment on hitchhiking. Then, the driver was warmly thanked for help. Thisinformation procedure was used in accord with the suggestion of the Ethic Committee of thelaboratory prior to evaluating the experiment. To prevent problems, a male observer discreetlyobserved the female confederate from a distance of 30 meters away from the confederate. Itwas not possible for the motorists to see the observer who observed the scene. He wasinstructed to come near the confederate if something wrong occurred. Fortunately, no4


intervention by this observer was required. This procedure was adapted on suggestion by theEthic Committee.ResultsThe number of drivers who stopped by sex conditions is presented in Table 1.Table 1Frequency and Percent of Motorists Who Stopped According By Experimental Condition andSex motoristGroupSize level of the bra cupA B CMale motorists (t = 774) %f14.9240/26817.9746/25624.0060/250Female motorists (n = 426) %f9.0912/1327.6411/1449.33 %14/150To the frequencies observed chi-square dependency test was applied. In malemotorists responses to the three bust sizes was significantly different (² (2, N = 774) = 7.16, p


the previous studies in which larger bust size of women were rated higher in physicalattractiveness (Furnham, Dias, & McClelland, 1998). This greater attractiveness should thenbe reflected by more male drivers to help a woman perceived as more attractive.ReferencesBeck, S. B., Ward-Hull, C. I., & McLear, P. M. (1976) Variables related to women’s somaticpreferences of the male and female body. Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, 34, 1200-1210.Buss, D. M. (1989) Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionary hypothesestested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1-49.Clifford, M., & Cleary, P. (1971) The odds in hitchhiking. Psychology Today, 5, June, 38.Crassweller, P., Gordon, M., & Tedford, W. (1972) An experimental investigation ofhitchhiking. Journal of Psychology, 82, 43-47.Furnham, A., Dias, M., & McClelland, A. (1998) The role of body weight, waist-to-hip ratio,and breast size in judgments of female attractiveness. Sex Roles, 39, 311-326.Furnham, A., Hester, C., & Weir, C. (1990) Sex differences in the preferences for specificfemale body shapes. Sex Roles, 22, 743-754.Furnham, A., Lavancy, M., & McClelland, A. (2001) Waist to hip ratio and facialattractiveness: a pilot study. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 491-502.Gitter, G. A., Lomranz, J., Saxe, L., & Bar-Tal, Y. (1983) Perceptions of female physiquecharacteristics by American and Israeli students. Journal of Social Psychology, 121, 7-13Guéguen, N. (2001) Effect of humor on hitchhiking: a field experiment. North AmericanJournal of Psychology, 3, 369-376.Guéguen, N., & Fischer-Lokou, J. (2004) Hitchhikers’ smile and receipt of help.Psychological Reports, 94, 756-760.Henss, R. (2000) Waist-to-hip ratio and female attractiveness: evidence from photographicstimuli and methodological considerations. Personality and Individual Differences, 28,501–513.Kenrick, D. T. Groth, G. E., Trost, M. R., & Sadalla, E. K. (1993) Integrating evolutionaryand social exchange perspectives on relationships: effects of gender, self-appraisal,and involvement level on mate selection criteria. Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, 64, 951-969.6


Mermet, G. (2006) Francoscopie. Paris: Larousse.Morgan, C., Lockard, J., Fahrenbruch, C., & Smith, J. (1975) Hitchhiking: social signals at adistance. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 5, 459-461.Pomazal, R., & Clore, G. (1973) Helping on the highway: the effects of dependency and sex.Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 3, 150-164.Singh, D. (1993) Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of the waist-tohipratio, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 293-307.Singh, D. (2002) Female mate value at a glance: relationship of waist-to-hip ratio to health,fecundity and attractiveness. Human Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology, 23, 81-91.Singh, D., & Luis, S. (1995) Ethnic and gender consensus for the effect of waist-to-hip ratioon judgements of women’s attractiveness. Human Nature, 6, 51-65.Snyder, M., Grether, J., & Keller, K. (1974) Staring and compliance: a field experiment onhitchhiking. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4, 165-170.Wildman, R. W., & Wildman, R. W. (1976) Note on males’ and females’ preferences foropposite-sex body parts, bust sizes, and bust-revealing clothing. PsychologicalReports, 38, 485-486.7

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