- Symmetry (physical attractiveness)
Symmetry, especially facial symmetry, is one of a number of
aesthetictraits, including averagenessand youthfulness, associated with health, physical attractivenessand beautyof a person or non-human animal. [cite book | last = Rhodes | first = Gillian | coauthors = Zebrowitz, Leslie, A. | title = Facial Attractiveness - Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Social Perspectives | publisher = Ablex | year = 2002 | id = ISBN 1567506364] It is also hypothesized as a factor in both interpersonal attractionand interpersonal chemistry. Animal studies show that diseased mothers give birth to offspring that show greater asymmetries.
Health and physical attractiveness
Edler [Edler R. J. "Background Considerations to Facial Aesthetics", (British) Journal of Orthodontics, Vol. 28, No. 2, June 2001, pp. 159-168.] cited research supporting the claim that bilateral symmetry is an important "indicator" of freedom from disease, and worthiness for mating. Facial asymmetries and minor physical anomalies begin to appear early in
embryonic development, mainly the first trimester of pregnancy, and can be a sign of instability during this growth.Fact|date=March 2008 "Fluctuating asymmetry" (random differences between two sides, as opposed to the deliberate natural asymmetry in some animals) develop throughout the lifespan of the individual and is a sign of the phenotypebeing subjected to some levels of stress.
The ability to cope with these pressures is partly reflected in the levels of symmetry.Clarifyme|date=March 2008 A higher degree of symmetry indicates a better coping system for environmental factors.Fact|date=April 2008 While the visible signs of this may not be particularly apparent, it is thought that they have at least a
subconsciouseffect on people's perception of their beauty. Zaidel et al. [ Zaidel D. W., Aarde S. M., and Baig, K. "Appearance of symmetry, beauty, and health in human faces", Brain and Cognition 57(3):(2005) pp. 261-263.] in an empirical study upholds the claim that facial symmetry may be critical for the appearance of health. Their study disputes, however, the beauty or attractiveness claim.
Facial symmetry is neither the only trait nor is it necessarily the most important trait of what a culture considers attractive. The competing aesthetic theory of
wabi sabiposits the existence of beauty through imperfection.Or|date=March 2008
Suzi Malin, a British portrait painter, wrote "Love at First Sight" (ISBN 0-7566-0401-X) to examine the relationships of 50 celebritycouples. She speculates that there are three aspects of facial symmetry which attract one person to another: echoism, harmonismand prima copulism. Echoism is the similarity of one or more facial features, particularly the eyes, eyebrows, noseand mouth. Harmonism is a similarity in facial proportions, usually involving the features and the distance between them. Prima copulism is an attraction to another person based on them having similar features to someone with whom they formed a strong interpersonal bond with at an early age, usually a mother or father.Fact|date=March 2008
In "Symmetry and Human Facial Attractivess" (University of St Andrews 1999) by David I. Perrett, D. Michael Burta, Ian S. Penton-Voaka, Kieran J. Leea, Duncan A. Rowlanda and Rachel Edwards it is posited again that symmetry may act as a marker of phenotypic and genetic quality and is preferred during mate selection in a variety of species. Measures of human body symmetry correlate with attractiveness, but studies manipulating human face images report a preference for asymmetry. These results may reflect unnatural feature shapes and changes in skin textures introduced by image processing. When the shape of facial features is varied (with skin textures held constant), increasing symmetry of face shape increases ratings of attractiveness for both male and female faces. These findings imply facial symmetry may have a positive impact on mate selection in humans. This, and other recent scientific findings, have been tested empirically on perceived "beautiful people" in Hollywood and researchers found that on a percentage basis the highest rating of symmetry was achieved by actress
Cate Blanchett.Fact|date=September 2007
This normative study of the bone structure of the face and skull places it in the intellectual traditions of
Phrenologyand Craniometry.Fact|date=March 2008 These earlier traditions ambitiously sought to assess character, personality, or intelligence from a person's bone structure.Fact|date=March 2008
Since the 1990s, descriptive studies of human facial bone structure underlie the practice of face recognition systems using
softwarefor security applications. The reliability of these systems has been brought into question.Fact|date=June 2007
*Edler, RJ. June 2001. " [http://jorthod.maneyjournals.org/cgi/content/full/28/2/159 Background Considerations to Facial Aesthetics] ". "Sexual reproduction and parasite resistance" section retrieved
31 May 2005.
*Fink, B; Manning, JT; Neave, N; Grammer, K. " [http://psychology.unn.ac.uk/nick/2d4d_facial%20asymmetry.htm Second to fourth digit ratio and facial asymmetry] ". "Introduction" section retrieved
31 May 2005.
* Fink, B. & Grammer, K. & Thornhill, R. (2001). Human (Homo sapiens) facial attractiveness in relation to skin texture and color. "Journal of Comparative Psychology, 115(1)," 92-99. [http://evolution.anthro.univie.ac.at/institutes/urbanethology/resources/pdf/skin.pdf Full text]
* Johnston, V.S., Hagel, R., Franklin, M., Fink, B. & Grammer, K. (2001). Male facial attractiveness: Evidence for hormone mediated adaptive design. "Evolution and Human Behavior, 22(4)," 251-267. [http://evolution.anthro.univie.ac.at/institutes/urbanethology/resources/pdf/johnston.pdf Full text]
*" [http://cogprints.org/4349/ Appearance of symmetry, beauty, and health in human faces] " -- link to article by Zaidel et al.
*" [http://www.uic.edu/classes/orla/orla312/TeethBeautyBiologyHealth.htm Teeth, Beauty, Biology, and Health] " – a class handout on dentition and facial symmetry at the College of Dentistry – University of Illinois at Chicago.
* [http://www.faceresearch.org/ FaceResearch] – Online studies on facial symmetry by researchers affiliated with University of Aberdeen (Scotland) School of Psychology, and University of St. Andrews (Scotland).
*" [http://jorthod.maneyjournals.org/cgi/reprint/28/2/159.pdf Background Consideration to Facial Aesthetics] " -- link to article by R. J. Edler.
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