24 November 2009

Body Surface Area

While gchatting (ostensibly studying neurology) a friend sent me a news story (from the science section?!) detailing how much skin a woman should show to maximize attractiveness to nearby men.

Methods: This was an observational study in which the authors used percentages of the body to determine the amount of exposed skin. Each arm was 10%, each leg 15% and the torso 50%. They they counted how many times each woman was approached. Neither the men or the women knew they were being studied.

Results: Women showing more or less than 40% exposed skin were approached less frequently.

Conclusion: Women showing less than 40% sent "prude" signals and women showing more sent "whore, adulteress" signals.

My immediate reaction was not "what a stupid thing to study" or "how can they claim to know what the men were thinking" or even "how does the methodology account for the possibility that the 40% women just happened to be the hottest regardless of clothing".

No, my reaction was: they got the body percentages wrong! Commonly used body surface area percentages for estimating burn injury are shown in the picture.

picture from UofM burn website: http://www.traumaburn.org/referring/fluid.shtml

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