Monday, February 16, 2009

Symmetry and Human Facial Attractiveness

Within this experiment the University of St. Andrew’s Psychology Department ran three experiments to see asymmetrical or symmetrical faces were more or less attractive to the viewer. In experiment number one they took 30 Caucasian individuals (15 males and 15 females) who were clean shaven with no jewelry. They manipulated the photos to make a set of normal and symmetrical images. These images were then shown to 49 raters which resulted in 58% for symmetrical faces. Then the experimenters created experiment number two which 30 faces once again (15 males and 15 females) and manipulated them by creating an even coloration and texture. The results of this experiment were the same as the first in which 72.9% of the raters preferred symmetrical faces. Lastly, the experimenters created a last set of faces. These faces included 16 normal and 16 symmetrical. The raters then had to grade them on a 1-7 point scale 7 being the most attractive. From here they took the means and the symmetrical faces scored higher than normal faces.

I was really amazed by the results of this experiment. I never really thought about how my mind might find others more attractive because of their symmetry. I am very interested in other features that my mind might almost find attractive. I have always found to be very attracted to girls because of their eyes and would be interested in finding my so called “favorite”.

I would like to see further research in certain regions of the face. Including eyebrows, eye shape, mouth, nose, and ears to see if we could create an image of the perfect female or male! I’m sure it would use similar methods and I would hope that we could use a wider range of individuals and races.

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  1. I'm curious as the what other factors contribute to people's perception of attractiveness. Like accentuated features - imagine Angelina Jolie's lips. Or perhaps a slight imperfection - like Cindy Crawford's mole. You might see if there is any literature on something like that :)

  2. I will try and find something on it. That reminds me a lot of wabi-sabi. We find beauty in imperfection.