ARE AVERAGE FACIAL CONFIGURATIONS ATTRACTIVE ONLY BECAUSE OF THEIR SYMMETRY

Gillian Rhodes, A. Sumich, G. Byatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

210 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several commentators have suggested that the attractiveness of average facial configurations could be due solely to associated changes in symmetry. If this symmetry hypothesis is correct, then averageness should not account for significant variance in attractiveness ratings when the effect of symmetry is partialed out Furthermore, changes in attractiveness produced by manipulating the averageness of individual faces should disappear when all the images are mode perfectly symmetric. The experiments reported support neither prediction. Symmetry and averageness (or distinctiveness, the converse of averageness) made independent contributions to attractiveness (Experiments I and 2), and changes in attractiveness resulting from changes in averageness remained when the images were made perfectly symmetric (Experiment 2). These results allow us to reject the symmetry hypothesis, and strengthen the evidence that facial averageness is attractive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
JournalPsychological Science
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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