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J Craniofac Surg. 2014;25(2):e157-61. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000000406.

The impact of geographic, ethnic, and demographic dynamics on the perception of beauty.

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From the *Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Burn Surgery, Bogenhausen Teaching Hospital, Technical University Munich, Germany; †United Nations Population Fund, Technical Division, Population and Development Branch, New York, New York; ‡Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; §Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, NYU Medical School, New York, New York; ∥Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale University School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut; and ¶Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.



Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but influenced by the individual's geographic, ethnic, and demographic background and characteristics. In plastic surgery, objective measurements are used as a foundation for aesthetic evaluations. This study assumes interdependence between variables such as country of residence, sex, age, occupation, and aesthetic perception.


Computerized images of a model's face were generated with the ability to alter nasal characteristics and the projection of the lips and chin. A survey containing these modifiable images was sent to more than 13,000 plastic surgeons and laypeople in 50 different countries, who were able to virtually create a face that they felt to be the aesthetically "ideal" and most pleasing. Demographic information about the interviewees was obtained.


Values of various aesthetic parameters of the nose were described along with their relationship to geography, demography, and occupation of the respondents. Interregional and ethnic comparison revealed that variables of country of residence, ethnicity, occupation (general public vs surgeon), and sex correlate along a 3-way dimension with the ideal projection of the lips and the chin. Significant interaction effects were found between variables of country of residence or ethnicity with occupation and sex of the respondents.


What are considered the "ideal" aesthetics of the face are highly dependent on the individual's cultural and ethnic background and cannot simply and solely be defined by numeric values and divine proportions. As confirmed with this study, ethnic, demographic, and occupational factors impact peoples' perception of beauty significantly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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