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Chapter 8. Using Similarity, Attractiven... > A Mathematical Formula for Attractiv...

A Mathematical Formula for Attractiveness

IN A RESEARCH study by Gunes (2006), researchers took many different measurements of human faces. For example, they measured the distance from the top of the eyes to the bottom of the chin, the distance from the top of the eyes to the bottom of the nostrils, and so on. They compared these measurements to people’s ratings of who was attractive. They found that most people agreed on who was attractive, and that those rated as attractive had certain proportions to their facial structures. Although attractiveness is affected by cultural and surface norms, such as clothing and hair, there does seem to be a mathematical basis to our decisions about who is attractive, and that basis seems to hold true across cultures.

Of course, we don’t take a ruler to someone’s face before we decide whether they are attractive or not. Our unconscious minds are able to process these mathematical proportions in the blink of an eye and send information to other parts of our brain, telling us that this person is attractive and we should pay attention.


  

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