ECVP 2005 Abstract

Cite as:
Oda M, 2005, "Is symmetrical face always more attractive than a non-symmetrical face?" Perception 34 ECVP Abstract Supplement

Is symmetrical face always more attractive than a non-symmetrical face?

M Oda

High correlation between the symmetry and attractiveness of faces has been reported in many studies. On the other hand, it has also been known that larger eyes increase attractiveness of the face. Because the intensities of these effects have not been compared, we could not judge which feature is more effective for attractiveness. We conducted a questionnaire and an experiment for comparing the attractiveness of symmetrical faces with that of non-symmetrical faces with larger eye(s). Subjects had to evaluate not only attractiveness but also beauty, because attractiveness and beauty could have a different meaning for evaluation. Important cues for attractiveness/beauty were investigated by using a questionnaire. About 70%/80% of subjects described larger eyes as an important cue for judging the attractiveness/beauty, but no subject referred to the symmetry of a face as a cue for attractiveness and about 10% of subjects did so for beauty. These results showed that the eye size was more important in consciousness than the symmetry in judging the attractiveness/beauty of a face. For the experiment, symmetrical faces were created by morphing the intact faces and producing mirrored faces of these. Modifying the eye size of the symmetrical faces created non-symmetrical faces. The stimuli used were the intact and symmetric faces, faces with the left or right eye enlarged, and faces with both eyes enlarged. The subjects rated attractiveness/beauty on a seven-point scale. The symmetrical faces were rated as more attractive/beautiful than the intact faces. Not only faces with larger eyes than the original symmetrical faces were rated more attractive/beautiful, but also faces with one larger eye were rated more attractive/beautiful than the symmetrical faces. These results indicate that an asymmetrical face can be rated as more attractive/beautiful than a symmetrical face.

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