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J Comp Psychol. 1994 Sep;108(3):233-42.

Human (Homo sapiens) facial attractiveness and sexual selection: the role of symmetry and averageness.

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Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology, Vienna, Austria.


We hypothesized from the parasite theory of sexual selection that men (Homo sapiens) would prefer averageness and symmetry in women's faces, that women would prefer averageness and symmetry in men's faces, and that women would prefer largeness (not averageness) of the secondary sexual traits of men's faces. We generated computer images of men's and women's faces and of composites of the faces of each sex, and then had men and women rate opposite-sex faces for 4 variables (attractive, dominant, sexy, and healthy). Symmetry, averageness, and the sizes of facial features were measured on the computerized faces. The hypotheses were supported, with the exception of the hypothesized effects of averageness of female and male faces on attractiveness ratings. This is the first study to show that facial symmetry has a positive influence on facial attractiveness ratings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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