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    Default Facial symmetry and subconscious attraction

    It is hypothesized that facial symmetry is a subconscious factor in both interpersonal attraction and interpersonal chemistry. There has also been cited research supporting the claim that facial symmetry is an important indicator of freedom from disease, and worthiness for mating.

    Two different explanations have been put forward by researchers to explain attraction to symmetric faces:

    The Evolutionary Advantage view: proposes that symmetric individuals are attractive because they are particularly healthy.

    The Perceptual Bias view: proposes that symmetric individuals are attractive because the human visual system can process symmetric stimuli of any kind more easily than it can process asymmetric stimuli.

    The ability to cope with stress and environmental pressures is partly reflected in the levels of symmetry. A higher degree of symmetry indicates a better coping system for environmental factors. While the visible signs of this may not be particularly apparent, it is thought that they have at least a subconscious effect on people's perception of their beauty.
    Instinct & Beauty
    One's opinion of beauty may be influenced very early but beauty is looked upon with interest by even infants. Infants who don't know what ideal weights or symmetric faces are. Infants will gaze upon a symmetrical face longer than an asymmetrical one. Even if that face is not of its mother or father. Children often stare at beautiful women and mimic their moves -- even showing favoritism towards more attractive individuals.

    Children didn't learn it from their parents, it is instinctive. They aren't born knowing the Silver Chin Soft Tissue Assessment or Ideal Cheek placement. Infants are just born knowing what pleases the eye.

    Even in the animal kingdom the preferences are around who has the best plumes, mane or horns. Even mother birds will tend to feed the most brightly colored of their offspring first, fearing the others may be sick so more energy is spent on the pretty, healthy ones.

    Even the lioness will choose the stronger, more attractive males to contribute their genes. Each species chooses the best of the group to produce their offspring with the best chance to survive and prosper. So, why all this favoritism? I know, we are not animals nor are we infants, but I am trying to point out that no matter how we are brought up our eye favors the showier, shinier, newer model. It is instilled within our very core.

    Beauty is not an exact science, but according to some Plastic Surgeons there is a specific proportion system that the ideal face tends to hover at. This includes facial height, width and symmetry. First the face is evaluated from its frontal view and then its lateral (side view). There are steps that can determine the facial lateral width or projection (as in your profile) and there is the oblique assessment for contours such as the cheek bones, chin and nose.

    So what measurement system are we going by? Well there isn't really a measurement system that dictates who is attractive and who is not, it's more of what university professors, artists and plastic surgeons deem "ideal" Where this may seem grossly unfair, it does have fact to it regarding what pleases the eye. What pleases the idea on a large scale tends to amount to about the same measurements of the facial features in proportion to each other. For instance the eyes in relation to the nose, the nose in relation to the mouth, the mouth in relation to the chin and so on and so forth.

    Scientists say that the preference for symmetry is a highly evolved trait seen in many different animals. Female swallows, for example, prefer males with longer and more symmetric tails, while female zebra finches mate with males with symmetrically colored leg bands.
    According to a University of Louisville study, when shown pictures of different individuals, Asians, Latinos, and whites from 13 different countries all had the same general preferences when rating others as attractive -- that is those that are the most symmetric.
    The face has many functions in social behavior — moods are assessed from emotions expressed on the face. The face also functions as a billboard, advertising the quality of the mate. More attractive faces are often thought to be higher quality mates. Both symmetry and degree of sexual dimorphism have been linked to affect the attractiveness of human face shape.
    I’ve noticed that I myself have a slight compulsion towards symmetry…. The way I arrange certain things or organize things in my apartment…i.e. – the way I stack things on my shelves or hang pictures on my walls. If I can arrange something to be symmetrical, for some odd reason I’m compelled to do it, not sure why.

    If something is asymmetrical it just looks less aesthetically pleasing to the eye for some reason. Regarding the human face, they have actual computer programs that can calculate how symmetrical your face is using an equation and then the program will score your facial symmetry on a scale of 1 – 10. I like taking personality tests and things like that, but I’m staying away from this test. I don’t need some computer program telling me how ugly I am damnit..

    Although there are several factors that make people attractive….Are we subconsciously and/or biologically programmed in some way to be attracted to certain people?

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I remember reading up on that when I did a report for social psych on the cultural and cross cultural standards of beauty... symmetry was one of the main factors in whether someone is considered beautiful or not... other factors being averageness and neoteny in facial characteristics... those factors apply in every culture in the world
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    Member SinistralPal's Avatar
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    If something is asymmetrical it just looks less aesthetically pleasing to the eye for some reason. Regarding the human face, they have actual computer programs that can calculate how symmetrical your face is using an equation and then the program will score your facial symmetry on a scale of 1 – 10. I like taking personality tests and things like that, but I’m staying away from this test. I don’t need some computer program telling me how ugly I am damnit..
    I wanna know!

    And as for...

    Children didn't learn it from their parents, it is instinctive.
    I heard this as an argument for God. How do we innately know truth and beauty, when creation is inherently flawed? Should we not deem beauty and truth as what we know best? And if that would be the case, would it not be average? Why do we seek perfection when it is unattainable?
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    Member Eye 'n' Teepee's Avatar
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    There's a whole lot of stuff on this topic here: Beautycheck - Home

    It suggests that averageness and symmetry are actually fairly insignificant compared to other factors (like specific facial traits).

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    Senior Member chooi's Avatar
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    I've heard this from several different sources articles and programs.

    As far as ideals of beauty go, several of these stories cited Denzel Washington as a perfect example of almost-perfect symmetry.

    However, I've also heard that people that look somewhat different also have a tendency to be attracted to each other. The reason being that it contributes to genetic diversity. But I guess if you've got the goods, then you've got the goods and will be attractive to the majority of people.

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    Senior Member chooi's Avatar
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    Found an article on symmetry and mental deterioration in old age. Men with symmetrical faces experienced were less at risk for dementia. For females there was no correlation. Some support for the evolutionary advantage take on it. Not sure how much I trust their findings, though.

    Facial Symmetry and Memory - AOL Health

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chooi View Post
    Found an article on symmetry and mental deterioration in old age. Men with symmetrical faces experienced were less at risk for dementia. For females there was no correlation. Some support for the evolutionary advantage take on it. Not sure how much I trust their findings, though.

    Facial Symmetry and Memory - AOL Health
    Oh my god.

    Dementia, here I come!

    ...

    Wait, where was I going again?
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I remember reading up on that when I did a report for social psych on the cultural and cross cultural standards of beauty... symmetry was one of the main factors in whether someone is considered beautiful or not... other factors being averageness and neoteny in facial characteristics... those factors apply in every culture in the world
    smart AND in possession of our mentality.
    I you

    Quote Originally Posted by SinistralPal View Post
    I heard this as an argument for God. How do we innately know truth and beauty, when creation is inherently flawed? Should we not deem beauty and truth as what we know best? And if that would be the case, would it not be average? Why do we seek perfection when it is unattainable?
    This is interesting... I never even looked at it from this angle... Do you have any more info about this argument?


    Quote Originally Posted by chooi View Post
    Found an article on symmetry and mental deterioration in old age. Men with symmetrical faces experienced were less at risk for dementia. For females there was no correlation. Some support for the evolutionary advantage take on it. Not sure how much I trust their findings, though.

    Facial Symmetry and Memory - AOL Health
    That's an interesting article... I would love to see them perform this study with an extremely large sample size.

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Hypothesis:

    J people like symmetry
    P people like asymmetry



    Anyways, on topic, first off: Naturally people are drawn more to what looks most beautiful. That truth goes further than just symmetry. But symmetry is definatly a part of it. However, we also have our intellect. Which can intervene in this process and completely wipe whatever impressions we first had. So I personally tend to wonder. Should we really bother discussing beauty (symmetry) or should we perhaps move on and discuss what factors ultimatly influence our actual descision making?

    However, as far as discussing if people with good symmetry are more attractive initially, I don't agree.

    I'm very asymmetrical. My eyes aren't on the same height. Same for my ears. My nose is crooked (According to a doctor I met once it has been broken once in my life, although I can't remember ever actually breaking it.). My lips aren't symmetrical, my smile isn't symmetrical.

    Basicly, nothing in my face is symmetrical. Although I admit, I'm also not a hunchback of notre dame type. Although my face isn't symmetrical. It also isn't extremely disproportional.

    And I also don't seem to get much attention for initial attraction.

    But I believe that has to do with my entire state. I'm introverted, rather sluggish, quiet. I don't stand out in crowds. The people that seem to get that attraction to me, seem to be the people with extreme extraverted personalities. They seem to get that attraction when I go out in public places, and not me. And it's not that their faces are symmetrical.

    I think presence is descisive. Not features.

    (I actually enjoy analysing peoples features when I'm bored, in public places. I are teh creepy guy staring at you without actually looking at 'you' from the dark corner! Muhaha.)



    On a third note however. Supermodels, etc, and all that. Yeah, symmetry above all else. This world is all about perfection, symmetry is an important factor of it. But where it's a conscious matter of great importance in the model world, it isn't in the real world.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    I think maybe there is too perfect also, whereby people are so flawless they approach something like the uncanny valley . I'm thinking of plastic surgery where people make themselves look wrong and slightly inhuman by trying to be too flawless (Heidi Montag etc.).
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

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