T Kordsmeyer, J Stern and L Penke

3D anthropometric assessment and perception of male body morphology in relation to physical strength

American Journal of Human Biology

Objectives: The assessment of men’s physical strength is an important part of human social perception, for which observers rely on different kinds of cues. However, besides previous studies being limited in considerable ways, as yet there is no comprehensive investigation of a range of somatometric measures in relation to both objectively measured and observer-perceived physical strength using valid stimuli. Methods: We examined observer-perceptions of physical strength from 3D body scans of N = 165 men, the usage and validity of somatometric measures as cues to strength, differences between strength ratings from stimuli presented on computer monitors versus in real-life size using a projector, and between male and female observers. Results: A medium-sized correlation between measured and perceived strength was found, partly mediated by target men’s chest-to-hip ratio, body density, ankle girth, height, upper arm and forearm girth. No significant differences between men’s and women’s strength perceptions or the method of stimuli presentation (computer monitor vs. projector) emerged. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that men’s physical strength can be assessed with moderate accuracy from 3D body models and that some somatometric measures represent valid cues, which were used by observers, positively predicting both measured and perceived physical strength.

Preprint available at osf.io/5fehr.