What Makes People Attractive?


My question is one I'm sure many of you share. Obviously we're all capable of deciding for ourselves what we find attractive and what we don't, but no one can argue that there are some people or characteristics that are universally recognized as attractive. Why is this? Research shows it's related to symmetry.


For some reason, it has been found that the more symmetrical your face is, the more attractive you are. Not only does being more symmetrical lead to people being more attractive, it is something scientifically associated with good health and genes. This is the opposite the less symmetrical your face is. And, according to evolution, we all want to mate with the best possible candidate, who can pass on the best genes to our children. So, I guess that means that over time symmetrical faces have emerged as being favorable because they're associated with healthy prospering offspring.


Researchers have even created criteria for symmetrical faces, some of which include:

1.         Ears should lay flat on the head, and reach from the center of the eye to the opening of the mouth

2.         Lip edges should line up with the pupils of the eyes

3.         The base of the nose should be just larger than eye width

4.         The chin should be gently rounded and smooth


There's a bunch more, but I'm sure many of you are thinking these criteria seem a little over the top and ridiculous, and you're right. These aren't set in stone by any means. These are only scientific findings, and there are thousands of examples that dispute their claims. Some famous examples are Naomi Watts, Kate Moss, Ashley Greene, Owen Wilson, and Milo Ventimiglia. All of these people have some sort of asymmetrical imperfection, yet they're all recognized as attractive people in Hollywood.


In conclusion, although science says we are all interested in symmetrical people they aren't always correct. Yes, some of the criteria for symmetrical faces, like delicate noses and chins, are attributes that most people agree are attractive. However, there are numerous exceptions to these rules, like people who have naturally asymmetrical faces, yet are still considered attractive. And then there is this woman:


According to science she is perfectly symmetrical, but do you find her attractive? If you play by the symmetrical rules, then apparently you should.





I'm a psychology student here at PSU and we've talked about what deems someone attractive. I think its more than just facial symmetry, it also has a lot to do with individual features. For example someone with rounder features is usually seen has being more good looking because they are literally easier to look at. Its like looking younger and more child like. Another aspect, especially when it comes to the entire body is the hip to waist ratio in men and women. Theres so much that goes into what is good looking. It was really interesting that you named some famous people that are considered good looking who's faces aren't extremely symmetrical.

I think it's interesting that humans are supposed to love the symmetrical, "perfect" face. I think, in a lot of cases, it's the imperfections of a person's face that we like the best about them. If we're all supposed to like the same person, the person whose face is supposed to be "ideal," then it would be pretty hard to find this person considering all of the genetic differences we have as human beings. Personally, I think everyone has their own idea of what is "good looking" and what is not. I would also be interested to see what science tells us is attractive in regards to weight, hair color, body fat, arm and leg length, and shoe size. As different as we are, I doubt there are many people in our world that really embody "perfection."

This is interesting, because the topic of facial symmetry came up in a class that I took about a year ago. I remember reading and article about this and it made an example of Denzel Washington's face and how it is considered to be a face almost perfect when it comes to symmetry. This makes me think of Evan's comment about everyone having an idea of what they think as attractive. I'm sure that there are some people out there that think Denzel Washington isn't attractive even though it is biologically "perfect". There are a few celebrities that I think are flat out repulsive, but society classifies them as beautiful or handsome.

Hey Jamie!

I find your article interesting, but I don't think it's humanly possible to have a perfectly symmetrical face. Angelina Jolie is said to have a perfectly symmetrical face yet as you can see in the photo, her upper left lip is slightly higher than her upper right lip and her left eye is slightly higher than her right eye. Also in the photo you posted in your blog post, the girl's right eye is slightly higher than her left eye, therefore it's not exactly symmetric.
Also, I don't think it's just symmetry that makes people attractive, if we're just talking about physical appearance here then I think hair and eye color can be factored in, as well as freckles, beauty marks, etc. In this Wikipedia article, it lists out what people find attractive. Feel free to take a look!

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