"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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Available from: Alan Roberts, Dec 02, 2014
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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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    ABSTRACT: Many people complain that they do not photograph well. In the present study, we hypothesised that the self-face is memorized more beautifully than reality, which may result in reports of being not photogenic. We took photographs of students who were in the same university course and were familiar with one another. We then magnified or shrunk the size of their eyes (Experiment 1; N = 10) and their mouths (Experiment 2; N = 10). We asked the students to select the picture that seemed most like their classmates’ real faces or their own real face. The results showed that there were significant differences between memories of their own and others’ faces. Participants selected their classmates’ real faces to a greater degree than the modified faces. However, participants tended to select pictures of themselves with magnified eyes and shrunken mouths more often than for their classmates. In Experiment 3 (N = 22), more male participants were included and the influence of gender and mirror-reversed images were examined. We found that there were no significant differences across gender, and the mirror reversal did not change the participants’ selections. The bias of self-face recognition may reflect different memory processes for the self and others.
    Perception 09/2014; 5(3):176-187. DOI:10.1068/i0634 · 0.91 Impact Factor
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    • "Most of the studies of adults included in the cross-cultural part of the meta-analysis tested agreement between people of different ethnic origins currently living within a single country. Nevertheless, a few studies tested agreement across different cultural and ethnic groups living in different countries [5]–[9], providing a more stringent test of the universality of attractiveness standards. We will focus only on these latter studies here. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous work showed high agreement in facial attractiveness preferences within and across cultures. The aims of the current study were twofold. First, we tested cross-cultural agreement in the attractiveness judgements of White Scottish and Black South African students for own- and other-ethnicity faces. Results showed significant agreement between White Scottish and Black South African observers' attractiveness judgements, providing further evidence of strong cross-cultural agreement in facial attractiveness preferences. Second, we tested whether cross-cultural agreement is influenced by the ethnicity and/or the gender of the target group. White Scottish and Black South African observers showed significantly higher agreement for Scottish than for African faces, presumably because both groups are familiar with White European facial features, but the Scottish group are less familiar with Black African facial features. Further work investigating this discordance in cross-cultural attractiveness preferences for African faces show that Black South African observers rely more heavily on colour cues when judging African female faces for attractiveness, while White Scottish observers rely more heavily on shape cues. Results also show higher cross-cultural agreement for female, compared to male faces, albeit not significantly higher. The findings shed new light on the factors that influence cross-cultural agreement in attractiveness preferences.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e99629. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0099629 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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