Height and attraction: Do men and women see eye-to-eye?1


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    . This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant GS 35157X to Ellen Berscheid.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Ellen Berscheid, Department of Psychology, Elliott Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455. The authors would like to thank Mary Kay Stemper who served as experimenter, and Steven Froman who provided statistical advice.


Two experiments were conducted to examine the influence of male height on interpresonal attraction. In Experiment 1, short, medium, and tall women evaluated pictures of men whom they believed to be either short, medium, or tall. On the basis of previous research, it was predicted that women's attraction to the men would be an increasing linear function of the men's height. This prediction was not confirmed; men of medium height were seen to be significantly more socially desirable than either short or tall men. This was true whether the female evaluator was short, medium, or tall; women did not differ in their evaluations. In Experiment 2, short, medium, and tall men evaluated the same male stimuli the women had evaluated in Experiment 1. These men not only gave their own evaluation of the male stimuli, but they also estimated how socially desirable the males pictured were to women. While men showed no evidence that they believed height was important to women, their own evaluations revealed that they liked and rated short men more positively than they did tall men. This was true regardless of the height of the male rater. These results were discussed in terms of social stereotypes and the importance of specifying situational context in the prediction of attraction.