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Singh was born in 1938 in Urai, India. Having first taken degrees in philosophy and psychology (Agra University), he completed his PhD at Ohio State University in 1966. Singh took up teaching positions at Wright State University and North Dakota State University before moving to the University of Texas at Austin in 1969.
A pioneer in the field of evolutionary psychology, Singh's most notable research concerned the evolutionary significance of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). In 1993, he was the first to elucidate the concept and significance of this ratio as an indicator of attractivness. In brief, Singh discovered that men rated women with low WHR (0.7) as optimally attractive, noting that lower levels of WHR correlated to lower risk of disease and greater fertility. Subsequent research demonstrated the cross-cultural  and cross-temporal appeal of a low WHR. One of his final research papers on the topic of WHR found that the "hourglass figure" (optimal WHR) activates brain centers that drive appetitive sociality/attention toward females that represent the highest-quality reproductive partners.
- Human Nature, Volume 4, Number 3. SpringerLink. URL accessed on 2011-02-25.
- Elsevier. Radiologysource.org. URL accessed on 2011-02-25.
- Body fat distribution and perception of desirable female body shape by young black men and women - Singh - 2006 - International Journal of Eating Disorders - Wiley Online Library. .interscience.wiley.com. URL accessed on 2011-02-25.
- Devendra Singh1*, Peter Renn2 and Adrian Singh1. Did the perils of abdominal obesity affect depiction of feminine beauty in the sixteenth to eighteenth century British literature? Exploring the health and beauty link — Proceedings B. Rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org. URL accessed on 2011-02-25.
- Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men. Plos One. URL accessed on 2011-02-25.
- Devendra Singh's University of Texas webpage Devendra Singh, Ph.D. Psy.utexas.edu. URL accessed on 2011-02-25.