“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty,” said David Hume, yet his words daily to explain the Brad Pitt, Timothée Chalamet, or Scarlett Johansson phenomena. Human beings do (generally) perceive certain features to be beautiful but the combination of features is just as important. What do recent scientific studies have to say on the matter?
Many studies have shown that people have a preference for symmetrical faces. One study undertaken by A Little of the University of Stirling, for instance, found that symmetry is a key variable that determines a face’s attractiveness. Another quality is how masucline or feminine a face is. The researchers believe that these traits are indicative of genetic quality or some other quality such as fertility. In the new millennium, of course, both of these traits are relatively easy to achieve through the burgeoning popularity of fillers, facial implants, and the like. Some issues (such as asymmetrical jawlines owing to oral issues) can be fixed via orthodontics and (sometimes) surgery. There are a plethora of exercises that correct jaw misalignment. These include facial stretches, cheek toning, and postural improvement therapy.
Average is Beautiful
A study published in the journal Psychological Science proved that people consider faces that look as music as possible as the ‘average’ face, to be most beautiful. In the study, participants were shown composites of different faces, blended together digitally. The more faces were blended together, the more beautiful the results were considered. Another study by researchers from the University of Toronto had similar results. This study, carried out on women, showed that there is a mathematical formula behind beauty. This formula states that women’s faces are more beautiful when the horizontal distance between the eyes amounts to 46% of the width of the face and when the vertical distance between the mouth and the eyes amounts to 36% of the total length of the face. The researchers concluded that this ‘winning formula’ was actually compatible with ‘averageness’ – which is food for thought for those who assert that beauty is ‘unique’.
Personality Matters Too
Beauty and attractiveness are not a matter of simple proportion or symmetry. A study published in Personal Relationships has found that men and women who have positive personality traits – such as helpfulness and honesty – are perceived as better looking while those who show negativity (vida rudeness and unfairness) are less physically attractive to others. “Perceiving a person as having a desirable personality makes the person more suitable in general as a close relationship partner of any kind,” said the study author. Essentially, the traits we find attractive in friends are also those we often look for in a romantic partner, reminding us that personality goes a long way towards determining attractiveness.
Beauty is both a measurable and subjective idea. It is measurable in that studies have shown that mathematical formulae, symmetry, and ‘averageness’ all tend to make a person more attractive to others. Personality, however, can alter initial perceptions, which is why those wishing to attract potential attractive partners should put their best inner qualities on display.