You might think a guy's attraction to curvy women might be hard-wired, but a new study finds that stress actually has something to do with the body type he finds attractive. When put in stressful situations, the men in the study found heavier women more attractive and found a wider range of bodies attractive, the BBC reports. It makes sense because there are known to be cross-cultural differences in body type preference, the researchers say.
"If you look at environments where food is scarce, people's preferences for body size in a potential partner are shifted," says one co-author. "[The preference] appears to be much heavier compared to environments where there's plenty of food and a much more relaxed atmosphere." Previous studies have found that other lifestyle factors, including economic and physiological stress, also have an impact on what people perceive to be physically attractive. "You try to fit your preferences to what works best in a particular environment," a researcher says.