The Checkup: Stressed Men More Attracted to Heavier Women, Study Says

Environment plays a role in your perceptions.

• Can your environment determine how you perceive attractiveness? A new study, which involved groups of stressed and non-stressed men, says yes. Both groups were asked to rank the attractiveness of women, with a range of BMIs and body shapes, depicted in photographs. The stressed out men ranked the heavier women slightly higher on the attractiveness scale than their non-stressed peers. But whom did they find most attractive? The non-stressed men liked the underweight women most, while the stressed-out men preferred those between underweight and normal weight. And researchers say those in the latter group reported finding a wider range of body types attractive. “This suggests that our body size preferences are not innate, but are flexible,” said study co-author and neuroscientist Martin Tovée told TIME. Or, as CBS News puts it:

Researchers say that the study shows that environmental factors may play a role in what people perceive as attractive. For example, when resources are scarce, people find a partner with a heavier body more appealing because they are more fit for their surroundings.

• I pretty much can’t think of anything worse than this: A doctor telling me that I’ve had a spider living in my ear for the past five days. But that’s exactly the news a woman in China received, reports Yahoo! News, after heading to the doctor for a suspicious inner-ear tickle. When the spider was removed, the woman reportedly “wept with gratitude.” Check out the photos of the spider crammed inside her ear. Fair warning: It’ll make you squirm.

• Did you know your running stride is as unique as your fingerprint? It’s true!