In a classic case of society deceiving itself, Australian women are actually slimmer than they think they are but men commonly overstate their muscular bulk.
This is the conclusion drawn by psychologists at Deakin University who spent the past four years studying how men and women feel about their bodies.
Using computer images of distorted body parts, 100 women and 80 men of all shapes were asked to adjust the silhouettes to match their own.
Deakin's head of psychology, Marita McCabe, said women felt they were larger than their actual size while men over-estimated their muscle mass.
Participants also were asked to adjust the body images to an ideal size, with men choosing a female body shape larger than the "perfect" figures depicted in the media.