Article

"Their Ideas of Beauty Are, on the Whole, the Same as Ours": Consistency and Variability in the Cross-Cultural Perception of Female Physical Attractiveness

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 01/1995; 68(2):261-279. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.68.2.261

ABSTRACT The consistency of physical attractiveness ratings across cultural groups was examined. In Study 1, recently arrived native Asian and Hispanic students and White Americans rated the attractiveness of Asian, Hispanic, Black, and White photographed women. The mean correlation between groups in attractiveness ratings was
r = .93. Asians, Hispanics, and Whites were equally influenced by many facial features, but Asians were less influenced by some sexual maturity and expressive features. In Study 2, Taiwanese attractiveness ratings correlated with prior Asian, Hispanic, and American ratings, mean
r = .91. Supporting Study 1, the Taiwanese also were less positively influenced by certain sexual maturity and expressive features. Exposure to Western media did not influence attractiveness ratings in either study. In Study 3, Black and White American men rated the attractiveness of Black female facial photos and body types. Mean facial attractiveness ratings were highly correlated (
r = .94), but as predicted Blacks and Whites varied in judging bodies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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    • "Moreover, global media shapes concepts of beauty through continually exposing audiences to certain looks that then mould perceptions of beauty and attractiveness, largely within a limited western framework.[34] Concepts of beauty that apply consistently across society include attributes such as large eyes, prominent cheekbones, full lips, shaped eye-brows, and a petite nose and chin.[35] The almost universal desire for such qualities suggests similar criteria for judging beauty.[36] "
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    • "For example, small chins are positively correlated with attractiveness (Cunningham, 1986; Cunningham, Roberts, & Wu, 1995). Moreover, in traditional Asian cultures , a small mouth, thin lips, and a small smile are considered highly attractive (Cunningham et al., 1995; Dalby, 1983). In Experiment 2, we modified the size of mouth similar to the method used in Experiment 1, and once again, we asked participants to select the photograph that looked most like the real face (self or other). "
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    • "A popular axiom concerning physical attractiveness says: " There is no standard for beauty, and it is all a personal perception. " Recent scientific studies revealed, however, that attractiveness ratings showed high degree of agreement among groups of raters belonging to the same culture and even across cultures and generations [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]. Such findings imply there may exist facial features that contribute one's general attractiveness consistently. "
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