shape top/bottom
basis height dimensionheight dimension TOPheight dimension BOTTOM


Proverbs and sayings: above/under

Lakoff and Johnson (1999) saw that there are many proverbs and sayings that have to do with form characteristics and emotions. Above / high: better, powerful, good, positive, important, wealth, luxury, expensive, overfull, high regard, visible, bossy, ambitious, risky, distinguished, conceited, information-rich, certainty. Under / deep / low: less good, submissive, shabby, problematic, less important, fear, negative, broken, distrusted.

Testosterone and shape

There is a possible relationship with the testosterone hormone. The amount of testosterone in the blood expresses the willingness to win and the degree of sense of domination. Carney et al. (2010) investigated the influence of different attitudes on the power radiation of the people, measured by two hormone values, cortisol and testosterone. The amount of cortisol is a measure of the amount of stress that a person has. The different attitudes that were tested differed in two non-verbal dimensions that are universally linked to power. These dimensions are: expansiveness: taking up more or less space, and openness: arms and legs together or spread out. People with an open and large posture have an increased amount of testosterone and a reduced amount of cortisol in the blood. With that, they radiate more power. In contrast, people with a closed and contracted posture have a reduced amount of testosterone and an increased amount of cortisol in the blood. That means that they are radiating more powerlessness.

Top/bottom area and aggresiveness

The higher the bulge on the top of an object, the more aggressiveness it radiates. (Roebers, 2013)

Waist-to-hip ratio

With the help of anthropomorphism some shapes can be compared with the human figure. The ratio between waist and hips is called the ‘waist-to-hip’ (WTH) ratio. Its effect is highly biologically determined and has to do with the physical attraction between the sexes.

Waist-to-Hip ratio = circumference waist / circumference hip

Research by a medical department at the University in Maryland shows that people with a high Waist-to-Hip ratio are more likely to have health problems than people with a low Waist-to-Hip ratio (University of Maryland, 2013).

Furnham, e.a. (1998) concluded that bodies with a low Waist-to-Hip ratio were seen as feminine and healthy, while bodies with a high Waist-to-Hip ratio were seen as masculine and unhealthy.

Attractiveness varies by gender. Women with a low Waist-to-Hip ratio are seen as more attractive than women with a high Waist-to-Hip ratio. In men, however, this is exactly the other way around. With a high Waist-to-Hip ratio, men are considered more attractive than with a low Waist-to-Hip ratio (Furnham, e.a. ,1998).

Shapes with a high Waist-to-Hip ratio look more solid than those with an hourglass shape. An hourglass shape looks more modern than a shape with a high Waist-to-Hip ratio (Roebers, 2013).