Scientists looking into attractiveness in men and woman suggest that men from all races find fairer-skinned woman most alluring, while women are the polar opposite and favour darker, brooding men. They said the attraction is driven by preferences based on moral assumptions. Scroll down for more Men are subconsciously attracted to fairer-skinned icons such as Nicole Kidman or Kylie Minogue because of the skin tone's association with innocence, purity, modesty, virginity, vulnerability and goodness.
Women, on the other hand, pick men with darker complexions - such as film stars Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell or Jamie Foxx - because these are associated with sex, virility, mystery, villainy and danger. The latter two actors were paired together in the recent Miami Vice movie, which topped the box office on both sides of the Atlantic despite lukewarm reviews. Academics at the University of Toronto in Canada say their study proves the fair maiden of myth has a basis in scientific reality.
They studied more than 2, advertising photographs - chosen on the basis the models featured were considered among the most attractive people of the races and sexes - and found that the skin of white women was Dr Shyon Baumann, a sociologist involved in the study, said: Dr Baumann said this appreciation of a darker complexion in women is "less common" but "appears to coexist with a view of such women as more overtly sexual.
Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman are typical examples of light-skinned beauties When the researchers analysed adverts featuring white women only, they found that women with the darkest complexions were more likely to be in an advanced state of undress.
They were also more likely to have a bared midriff or provocatively dressed, and only they were shown with bared feet or are implied to be totally nude. Women with the lightest complexion were more likely to be conservatively dressed and portrayed as friendly, happy and honest.
Dr Baumann said the scale of the differences between male and female skin colour selected for their attractiveness is too big to be explained by pure biology and were the product of "deeply rooted and enduring cultural values". Women were left drooling over shots of him in his swimming shorts during Craig's debut turn as James Bond in Casino Royale.
Two years ago, research from St Andrews University in Fife found man's attraction to blondes could date back to the caveman era. Researchers said a rare mutation of light-coloured hair heralded the arrival of the blue-eyed blonde 10, years ago.
Until then, humans, who originated in Africa, tended to have dark hair and eyes, so blondes stood out from their brunette sisters. Anthropologist Peter Frost said: Most watched News videos.