Research has indicated that female body perception and associated body-viewing gaze behaviour in women viewers can be influenced by a variety of internal and external factors (e.g., own body satisfaction, clothing style, and viewing angle). Although the clothing colour affects women’s visual and aesthetic appearance rated by men or women wearer themselves, its impact on women judging other women’s body attractiveness and body size is largely unclear. In this eye-tracking study we presented female body images of Caucasian and African avatars in a continuum of common dress sizes wearing different colours (black, grey, white, red, green and blue), and asked 31 young Caucasian women to rate the perceived body attractiveness and body size. Our analysis revealed that clothing colour black and red attracted the highest body attractiveness and slimmer body size ratings, whereas green and grey induced the lowest body attractiveness and overestimated body size judgements. Such colour-induced modulatory effect on body perception was further influenced by the avatar race (or skin tone; e.g., higher attractiveness ratings for colours white, blue and green in African than in Caucasian avatars), and was associated with the changes of body-viewing gaze allocation at the upper body and waist-hip regions (i.e. colour black and white attracting more viewing at the upper body and waist-hip regions, respectively). Taken together, it seems that the clothing colour and its contrast with skin tone play valuable roles in mediating women’s body perception of other women.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Nimreth Sidhu, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Chloe Qualter, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Emily Higgs, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology

Kun Guo, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology