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# Impact of face proportions on face attractiveness

## Abstract

Background Proportions of face components appear to play a role in facial attractiveness. Aims The aim of the study was to establish the best proportions of face components in relation to whole face shape for facial attractiveness. Methods Only one face component (eye, nose, or lips) of a model in a series of photographs was altered using a computer program. Alterations consisted of size reduction or augmentation by 5% or 10%. Each photograph depicted a particular face component altered to either 90%, 95%, 100%, 105%, or 110% of its original size. Collages of photographs were shown to 167 individuals (male and female) for a fixed period of 7 seconds. Their task was to indicate the most attractive photograph of a model in a presented collage. Results In total, 48.1% of individuals preferred enhanced eyes both in males and females. We found that the preferred mean eye size in women was statistically significantly higher than that in men. In total, 64.8% of respondents preferred reduced nose proportions in women (27.5% found a reduction to 90% of the original size more attractive while 37.3% preferred a reduction to 95%). It was demonstrated that the preferred mean nose size was statistically significantly lower in females in comparison with males. Respondents expressed a greater preference for nose reduction in women in comparison with men. 38.4% of respondents (in regard to both male and female mouth) preferred reduced mouth. 40.7% of respondents preferred reduced mouth in the female model. Conclusions Our work delivers statistically significant evidence that facial attractiveness increases together with the enlargement of the uncovered eye surface as well as the reduction in nose and lip size. Data were obtained using modern collective intelligence methods of validation. Written consent was obtained from all study participants.
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION
Impact of face proportions on face attractiveness
Mateusz Przylipiak MSc
1
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Jerzy Przylipiak MD
1
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Robert Terlikowski MD
2
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Emilia Lubowicka MSc
3
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Lech Chrostek MD, PhD
4
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Andrzej Przylipiak MD, PhD
3
1
Medical Practice, Białystok, Poland
2
Department of Physical Medicine and
Rehabilitation, Medical University of
Białystok, Białystok, Poland
3
Department of Aesthetic Medicine,
Medical University of Białystok, Białystok,
Poland
4
Department of Biochemical Diagnostics,
Medical University of Białystok, Białystok,
Poland
Correspondence
Przylipiak Andrzej, Department of Aesthetic
Medicine, Medical University of Białystok,
Białystok, Poland.
Email: andrzej.przylipiak@umb.edu.pl
Funding information
This study was supported in part by grant
from Medical University in Bialystok in
Białystok.
Summary
Background: Proportions of face components appear to play a role in facial attrac-
tiveness.
Aims: The aim of the study was to establish the best proportions of face compo-
nents in relation to whole face shape for facial attractiveness.
Methods: Only one face component (eye, nose, or lips) of a model in a series of
photographs was altered using a computer program. Alterations consisted of size
reduction or augmentation by 5% or 10%. Each photograph depicted a particular
face component altered to either 90%, 95%, 100%, 105%, or 110% of its original
size. Collages of photographs were shown to 167 individuals (male and female) for a
fixed period of 7 seconds. Their task was to indicate the most attractive photograph
of a model in a presented collage.
Results: In total, 48.1% of individuals preferred enhanced eyes both in males and
females. We found that the preferred mean eye size in women was statistically sig-
nificantly higher than that in men. In total, 64.8% of respondents preferred reduced
nose proportions in women (27.5% found a reduction to 90% of the original size
more attractive while 37.3% preferred a reduction to 95%). It was demonstrated
that the preferred mean nose size was statistically significantly lower in females in
comparison with males. Respondents expressed a greater preference for nose reduc-
tion in women in comparison with men. 38.4% of respondents (in regard to both
male and female mouth) preferred reduced mouth. 40.7% of respondents preferred
reduced mouth in the female model.
Conclusions: Our work delivers statistically significant evidence that facial attrac-
tiveness increases together with the enlargement of the uncovered eye surface as
well as the reduction in nose and lip size. Data were obtained using modern collec-
tive intelligence methods of validation.
Written consent was obtained from all study participants.
KEYWORDS
attractiveness, eyes, face, mouth, nose, proportions
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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercialNoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is noncommercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
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Revised: 2 July 2018
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Accepted: 10 August 2018
DOI: 10.1111/jocd.12783
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;16. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jocd
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INTRODUCTION
Face is the most important factor determining the external appear-
ance of individuals. A number of studies have recently addressed a
variety of questions concerning the human face. This is due to the
remarkable ability of humans to recognize and edit information
about others on seeing their faces.
1,2
Physical attractiveness, whose
definition varies depending on culture and subjective preferences, is
at present very important for most individuals.
3
Attractiveness
impacts on a number of social aspectspeople who are more attrac-
tive are treated more kindly by those around them, obtain better
employment, and are offered more opportunities.
4
The esthetics of
the human face are based on three elementsproportions, symme-
try, and skin texture.
57
Great ancient sculptors and painters were
experts in the proportions of the human face. All authors emphasize
the fact that the golden ratio, known since ancient times, is crucial
for establishing facial esthetics.
8
Publications of other authors studying biometric facial data are
devoted to distances between mark points and e angles between
particular lines.
9
Mutual proportions between large face components such as the
have never been scientifically examined, although they are of great
significance for facial esthetics. This area is the focus of our present
study. Plastic surgeons and esthetic dermatologists impact on the
aforementioned proportions by applying empirical knowledge, using
a therapeutic algorithm which is not verified experimentally. In the
present study, we wanted to examine which proportions (eyes vs
observers.
Digital technology allowed us to modify selected parts of studied
photographs. The aim of the study was to establish what proportions
of face components in relation to the shape of the whole face were
found to be more attractive: (a) unaltered; (b) enhanced; or (c)
reduced. We wanted to ascertain which face component needed to
be changed in order to increase attractiveness and how considerable,
in percentage terms, the change needed to be for optimal results.
Our experiments did not aim to establish new canons of beauty.
However, they could allow us to ascertain if the most common
esthetic procedures correlate with the esthetic taste of the population.
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MATERIAL AND METHODS
We used the methodology as previously described by Axellson
et al
10
in BMJ 2010, which proved to be appropriate for the mea-
surement of facial attractiveness. Our study involved 167 individuals,
88 women, and 79 men whose age was 2053 years (Figure 1).
Collages of five photographs showing the face of one human
model were presented to study participants whose task was to indi-
cate the model's most attractive photograph in a presented collage.
Photographs comprising one collage depicted the same model,
whose one face component (eye, nose, and lips) was enhanced,
reduced, or left unaltered using a computer program. Changes
consisted of size reduction or augmentation by 5% or 10%. Each
photograph depicted a particular face component altered to either
90%, 95%, 100%, 105%, or 110% of its original size. The Adobe
Photoshop software was used to edit photographs. The photographs
were placed in collages randomly. Each study participant judged 72
collages which were composed of photographs of 24 individuals12
female and 12 male models. Each collage was dedicated to one face
componentnose, eyes, or mouth. Therefore, a particular model was
presented on three collages. The photographs of models (age
approximately 2060 years) were selected from several internet web-
sites. The authors made certain that no wellknown celebrities or
public persons were included. The collages were shown to the 167
study participants for a fixed period of 7 seconds.
The IBM SPSS 20.0 Statistics Genericom (IBM Corporation,
Armonk, NY, USA) program was applied. P<0.05 and P<0.01 were
acknowledged as statistically significant.
The Local Ethics Committee approved the ethical and legal
admissibility of the study with number RI002/507/2014.
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RESULTS
Eye modifications in male and female models were evaluated first.
Eye enlargement was found to be attractive by 48.1% of responders.
The enlargement to 105% or 110% of the original size was preferred
by 29.1% and 19.0% of participants, respectively. Reduced propor-
tions of the uncovered eye surface in females were less preferred by
study participants (only 6.4% found the alteration to 90% of the
original size as attractive while 13.6% found the alteration to 95%
attractive). 31.8% of respondents expressed a preference for unmod-
ified eyes in men. Eye enhancement in men to 105% of the original
size was perceived as attractive by 29.7% of respondents while the
enhancement to 110% of the original size was preferred by 16.2%
respondents. In total, enlarged eyes in men were approved by 45.9%
of respondents. Smaller eyes in men were less preferred by study
participants (7.2% found the reduction to 90% of the original size
attractive while 15.1% found the reduction to 95% of the original
size attractive; Table 1; Figure 2). Unmodified photographs (100%)
were found to be the most attractive by 29.6% of study participants.
We found that the preferred mean eye size in women was statisti-
cally significantly higher in comparison with men, which indicates a
preference for large eyes in women (Table 4).
Preferred nose modifications in men and women were examined
next. In total, 64.8% of study participants preferred a smaller nose in
women (27.5% found the reduction to 90% of the original size
attractive while 37.3% found the reduction to 95% of the original
size attractive). As far as female models are concerned, 10.35% of
respondents found the enhancement to 105% of the original size
attractive while only 4.0% of them preferred the enhancement to
110% of the original size. 21.0% of respondents found the unaltered
nose in females (100%) to be attractive. In the case of the preferred
nose modification in men, 53.6% of study participants preferred a
smaller nose in the male model (20.5% found the reduction to 90%
of the original size attractive while 33.1% indicated the reduction to
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PRZYLIPIAK ET AL.
95% of the original size to be more adequate). In total, 17.5% of
respondents preferred an enlarged nose in men (10.5% found the
enhancement to 105% of the original size attractive while 7.0% indi-
cated the enhancement to 110% of the original size as attractive).
Moreover, 28.8% of respondents indicated the unaltered nose
(100%) as the most attractive (Table 2; Figure 3). Our study demon-
strated the preferred mean nose size in women was statistically sig-
nificantly lower than that in men. The study participants preferred
the reduced sized nose in both sexes, although the preference for a
smaller nose was greater in reference to females.
Finally, we examined preferences regarding mouth modifications
in men and women. 38.4% of study participants preferred a reduced
mouth (in reference to both male and female mouths).
It was 40.7% of respondents who preferred a reduced mouth in
the female model (12% voted for the reduction to 90% of the origi-
nal size, whereas 28.7% preferred the reduction to 95% of the origi-
nal size). Only 29.1% of study participants favored enlarged lips in
women (19% preferred the enhancement to 105% of the original
size while 10.1% preferred the enhancement to 110% of the original
size). In the case of lip modification in male models, unchanged pro-
portions were preferred by 28.7% of study participants. A reduced
mouth in men was found to be attractive by 36.2% of respondents
(14% preferred the reduction to 90% of the original size while
22.2% preferred the reduction to 95% of the original size).
Augmented lips in men were perceived as attractive by 36.6% of
respondents (23.1% preferred the enhancement to 105% of the
(a)
(d) (e)
(b) (c)
(a)
(d) (e)
(b) (c)
(A)
(B)
FIGURE 1 A, Example of female collage
with mouth alteration. B, Example of male
collage with eye alteration
PRZYLIPIAK ET AL.
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original size, whereas 13.5% preferred the enhancement to 110% of
the original size; Table 3; Figure 4). Unaltered lip proportions in
women were preferred by 30.2% of study participants. We demon-
strated that the preferred mean mouth size in female models was
statistically significantly smaller than that in male models (Table 4).
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DISCUSSION
To date, various aspects of the attractiveness of the human face
have been examined.
2,5,7
It is evident that face proportions change
during a person's life. Proportions of a child's face are different than
those of an adult's face. Pesa
11
subject to change during a lifetime, for example, their proportions
and maxillofacial skeleton. Changes in face proportions occurring
during a person's life are not as profound as the differences in pro-
portions found between the faces of a baby and an adult.
TABLE 1 Preferred eye proportions dependent on sex and
change magnitude
Eyes
Total90% 95% 100% 105% 110%
Sex of model
Female
n 140 296 642 621 472 2171
% 6.4% 13.6% 29.6% 28.6% 21.7% 100.0%
Male
n 157 328 691 644 351 2171
% 7.2% 15.1% 31.8% 29.7% 16.2% 100.0%
Total
n 297 624 1333 1265 823 4342
% 6.8% 14.4% 30.7% 29.1% 19.0% 100.0%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Female
Male
Eyes
90%
95%
100%
105%
110%
FIGURE 2 Preferred eye size in males and females
TABLE 2 Preferred nose proportions dependent on sex and
change magnitude
Nose
Total90% 95% 100% 105% 110%
Sex of model
Female
n 596 809 456 223 87 2171
% 27.5% 37.3% 21.0% 10.3% 4.0% 100.0%
Male
n 446 718 626 229 152 2171
% 20.5% 33.1% 28.8% 10.5% 7.0% 100.0%
Total
n 1042 1527 1082 452 239 4342
% 24.0% 35.2% 24.9% 10.4% 5.5% 100.0%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Female
Male
Nose
90%
95%
100%
105%
110%
FIGURE 3 Preferred nose size in males and females
TABLE 3 Preferred mouth proportions dependent on sex and
change magnitude
Mouth
Total90% 95% 100% 105% 110%
Sex of model
Female
n 261 622 655 413 220 2171
% 12.0% 28.7% 30.2% 19.0% 10.1% 100.0%
Male
n 304 481 592 502 292 2171
% 14.0% 22.2% 27.3% 23.1% 13.5% 100.0%
Total
n 565 1103 1247 915 512 4342
% 13.0% 25.4% 28.7% 21.1% 11.8% 100.0%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Female
Male
Mouth
90%
95%
100%
105%
110%
FIGURE 4 Preferred mouth size in males and females
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PRZYLIPIAK ET AL.
Additionally, changes in facial esthetics occur following orthodontic
therapy despite the conservative character of the majority of
orthodontic treatments.
12
Therefore, orthodontists have also studied
modifications in facial attractiveness taking place in the course of
orthodontic treatment.
13
It is believed that an attractive female face has some properties
of a child's face.
14
In our present study, we demonstrated that faces
with eyes larger than those in nature are perceived to be more
attractive in males and females. This finding is consistent with the
canon of the manga comic graphics. Heroes of this type of comic
have unnaturally large eyes. Eyelid correction plastic surgery consist-
ing in the enlargement of the uncovered eye surface produces the
optical effect of larger eyes, which our respondents found more
attractive. This finding reflects the everyday practice of esthetic sur-
geons and the principles of cosmetic surgery.
Similarly, our study revealed that a smaller nose is more attrac-
tive. Rhinoplasty frequently consists not only in nose straightening
but also in nose size reduction with the latter being reflected in the
esthetic preferences of our study participants.
The mouth and lips were the focus of the third experiment. It is
believed that a bigger mouth and full and fleshy lips are more attrac-
tive. Therefore, fillers are used for lip augmentation to improve the
attractiveness of the whole face. Our results cast doubts on such a
belief and show that criticism, expressed at times, of conspicuously
augmented lips may stem from the esthetic taste of a larger group of
people. It is difficult to believe that a smaller mouth is preferred by
observers. However, statistically significant results of our study sup-
port this conclusion. We can again refer to the canon of manga comic,
where a small mouth is an apparent property of manga figures. Reiter-
ating an attractive female face is similar to the face of a small child.
Nevertheless, we are all aware of the fact that wellexecuted lip aug-
mentation is very beneficial for facial appearance. This can lead to a
question of whether, in the case of mouth dimensions, an increase in
attractiveness can be achieved by both lip enhancement and lip reduc-
tion. We believe that both augmented and naturalsized lips can look
attractive. We do not possess detailed knowledge regarding the origin
and processing of impulses relating to attractiveness in the brain.
According to an old saying, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Research has revealed that looking at an attractive human face acti-
vates nerve pathways in the central nervous system. Experiments per-
formed using functional magnetic resonance imaging indicate that the
ventral stratum and anterior hypothalamus are activated when the
observer perceives a human face as attractive.
15
Facial symmetry increases facial attractiveness
16
while asymme-
try impacts negatively on facial esthetics.
17
However, this issue was
not the focus of our study. Our study investigated the proportions
of face components in relation to the shape of the whole face.
Similarly to our research, previously published work of other
authors regarded the importance of face component proportions in
facial esthetics.
18,19
However, different proportions such as the posi-
tion of the eyes, pupil size, distance between pupils, and forehead
size were investigated.
Our work is based on the esthetic taste of the surveyed individu-
als using methods of collective intelligence. This is the first study
investigating the role of face component proportions in relation to
the shape of the whole face in facial attractiveness.
5
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CONCLUSIONS
Our study delivers statistically significant evidence that the attrac-
tiveness of the human face increases when the eyes are enlarged
and the size of the nose and mouth is reduced.
ORCID
AndrzejPrzylipiak http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5554-4628
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TABLE 4 Preferred modifications of face components in
percentages
Sex of model Mean SD Median P
a
Eyes
Female 102.28 5.795 105.00 0.000
Male 101.62 5.655 100.00
Total 101.95 5.734 100.00
Mouth
Female 99.33 5.800 100.00 0.00
Male 99.99 6.228 100.00
Total 99.66 6.026 100.00
Nose
Female 96.31 5.451 95.00 0.000
Male 97.52 5.684 95.00
Total 96.91 5.601 95.00
a
MannWhitney Utest
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... Furthermore, when it is studied in this context, it happens most often in connection with class II/III malocclusion and its correction [3,[10][11][12]. While malocclusion due to the malposition of the mandible is indeed an important clinical problem with a bearing on profile esthetics [13], otheroften connected and interacting-factors are also at play: the length of the nose [14], the prominence of the soft tissues of the chin [15], the ratio of the nose to the lips [16], or the inclination of the maxillary incisors [17] have all been reported to influence the perception of profile esthetics by both laypersons and dental professionals. ...
... It is known that facial esthetic preferences show high geographical (cultural) variability. For instance, Strajnic and colleagues failed to find gender difference in self-perception and satisfaction with dental appearance in a sample of Serbian patients [19], while Przylipiak and co-workers, working in Poland, found that preferred mean nose size was statistically significantly lower in females in comparison with males [16]. The present study also tested nose size preferences but failed to find significant gender differences. ...
... As for the length of the nose, we found no association with any of the background variables (i.e., the preferences were homogeneous in the entire sample). This is apparently in contradiction with studies that found that a shorter nose is perceived as more esthetic than a longer one [14,16]. However, once again, these studies analyzed the preferences of laypersons, so their results are not entirely comparable to ours. ...
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... Mateusz's et al. [23] results show that facial attractiveness increases as the uncovered eye surface increases and the nose and lip size decreases. However, only one variable was considered at a time, without examining the quantitative relationship between these variables. ...
... In contrast to Mateusz's et al. [23] findings, where the facial attractiveness increased as the nose size reduced, we found that the facial attractiveness increased as the ratio of NL to N increased among AF, AM, CF and CM. Additionally, the facial attractiveness increased as the ratio of EI to NL decreased among AF, AM and CM. ...
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... 5 Slightly extruded central incisors are aesthetically more attractive than intruded incisors in men, 6 and the canine vertical position modifications have a statistically significant influence on the smile esthetic evaluations for both laypersons and orthodontists. 7 Moreover, Przylipiak et al. 8 showed that facial attractiveness increases together with the enlargement of the uncovered eye surface as well as the reduction in nose and lip size. An aesthetically pleasing face should be centered on strength, symmetry, and balance. ...
... The face is the central contributor to physical attractiveness; 3 2. Each facial component may be related to facial attractiveness; 8 3. Laypersons and dental specialists diverge in the perception of facial attractiveness. 11,12 However, so far little is known about the difference between laypersons and dental specialists when evaluating attractiveness of facial components. ...
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Background/purpose Relationship between facial attractiveness and facial components is not completely clear. The aim was to analyze the correlation between facial attractiveness and facial components assessed by laypersons and orthodontists. Materials and methods The attractiveness of 100 adult patients (50 males and 50 females with their frontal, lateral, and frontal smiling photos), before orthodontic treatment, was assessed by 24 laypersons and 24 orthodontists using visual analog scale. Pearson correlation coefficient and stepwise regression were used for statistical analysis. Results When laypersons assessed, a significant correlation was found between facial attractiveness and the chin (r = 0.671), eyes (r = 0.669), lips (r = 0.585), hair (r = 0.527), teeth (r = 0.338), and nose (r = 0.247); the chin was responsible for 45.1% of the variation in facial attractiveness, the eyes for 14.3%, and the lips for 0.8%. When orthodontists assessed, a significant correlation was found between facial attractiveness and the lips (r = 0.789), eyes (r = 0.646), hair (r = 0.613), chin (r = 0.565), nose (r = 0.264), and teeth (r = 0.221); the lips were responsible for 62.2% of the variation in facial attractiveness, the eyes for 8.2%, the chin for 1.4%, and the hair for 0.5%. Conclusion When laypersons evaluate, the chin contributes the most to facial attractiveness, and when orthodontists evaluate, the lips contribute the most. Whether in the evaluation of laypersons or orthodontists, the contribution of teeth to facial attractiveness is significantly less than that of the lips and chin.
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... For instance, wider faces tend to be perceived less attractive [6]. As for the size of eyes, studies found that bigger eyes tended to be associated with higher perceived attractiveness [24]. On the other hand, eyes were also associated with perceived intelligence, regarding their inter-distance. ...
... In the study of facial attractiveness, facial geometric features consider the ratio of the distance between facial landmarks, but facial components, the proportion of each organ to the face area also need to be considered (Popenko Przylipiak et al. 2018). Since the facial geometric features cannot represent the whole information of a face and the human judgement on the facial attractiveness may also be disturbed by other facial features (e.g. ...
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Facial attractiveness has important social consequences. Despite a widespread belief that beauty cannot be defined, in fact, there is considerable agreement across individuals and cultures on what is found attractive. By considering that attraction and mate choice are critical components of evolutionary selection, we can better understand the importance of beauty. There are many traits that are linked to facial attractiveness in humans and each may in some way impart benefits to individuals who act on their preferences. If a trait is reliably associated with some benefit to the perceiver, then we would expect individuals in a population to find that trait attractive. Such an approach has highlighted face traits such as age, health, symmetry, and averageness, which are proposed to be associated with benefits and so associated with facial attractiveness. This view may postulate that some traits will be universally attractive; however, this does not preclude variation. Indeed, it would be surprising if there existed a template of a perfect face that was not affected by experience, environment, context, or the specific needs of an individual. Research on facial attractiveness has documented how various face traits are associated with attractiveness and various factors that impact on an individual's judgments of facial attractiveness. Overall, facial attractiveness is complex, both in the number of traits that determine attraction and in the large number of factors that can alter attraction to particular faces. A fuller understanding of facial beauty will come with an understanding of how these various factors interact with each other. WIREs Cogn Sci 2014, 5:621-634. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1316 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Investigated, in 2 quasi-experiments, the relation between specific adult female facial features and the attraction, attribution, and altruistic responses of adult males. Precise measurements were obtained of the relative size of 24 facial features in an international sample of photographs of 50 females. 75 undergraduate males provided ratings of the attractiveness of each of the females. Positively correlated with attractiveness ratings were the neonate features of large eyes, small nose, and small chin; the maturity features of prominent cheekbones and narrow cheeks; and the expressive features of high eyebrows, large pupils, and large smile. A 2nd study asked males to rate the personal characteristics of 16 previously measured females. The males were also asked to indicate the females for whom they would be most inclined to perform altruistic behaviors and to select for dating, sexual behavior, and childrearing. The 2nd study replicated the correlations of feature measurements with attractiveness. Facial features also predicted personality attributions, altruistic inclinations, and reproductive interest. Sociobiological interpretations are discussed. (73 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)