Chubbier parents are assumed to be better parents by most people, according to a study. The research team found that people perceive parents with less body muscle and fat percentage are more likely to become better at parenting. In contrast, skinnier parents tend to show less parenting abilities.
Evolutionary Psychological Science published a study that proves why. According to the study, people perceive that men and women who have a higher level of body fat are able to parent kids better than their skinnier counterparts.
Evolutionary Social Psychology Lab director and University of Mississippi associate professor Donald Sacco explained what his team found out during the study. He said that their study focused on how the facial and bodily cues communicate information about producing high quality children.
Babies need protection and investment from parents
Sacco explained that babies are vulnerable and need a lot of protection from their parents. He said that they came up with the idea on how bodily cues could inform inferences regarding the ability to parent children better.
He and his team let 831 subjects view computer-generated bodies of both sexes that have different dimensions. Then, they let them answer 36 questions about their perception on parental qualities.
Low fat, high muscle linked to lower parenting ability
The study suggests that low body fat men with higher muscularity were linked independently as those with low parenting ability. People also perceived women with low body fat as that with low parenting abilities.
On the other hand, the subjects linked a higher fat percentage in women to have more parenting abilities. Study author Sacco told PsyPost that people believe that a person with a higher body fat percentage has more positive parenting abilities.
He also said that what a person finds sexy and attractive with the opposite sex is not linked to a good parent. However, the study has limitations as the team only took public university students as their subjects.
Breast size not linked to better parenting abilities
What surprised Sacco and his team was that breast size was not linked to better parenting abilities. He said that people may perceive breasts more for mating rather than for parenting. The lead author also said that they plan to include a broader age-range in the future for a more generalized result.
The research team noted how essential studying people is in regard to knowing their abilities as parents. Sacco believes that because parental investment is essential to the survival of offspring, people need to study more of it. He said that an essential research consideration is by increasing people's understanding of the different cues people perceive to prove one's parenting abilities.
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