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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reconsidering Facial Attractiveness: A Systematic Multivariate Approach to Identifying the Ethnicity-Specific Cues That Define Beauty

  • Author(s): Banyard, Derek A.
  • Advisor(s): Evans, Gregory RD
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License

Historically, education for practitioners who deal in aesthetics has been rooted in outdated concepts like the ‘Golden Ratio,’ or phi, and the neoclassical canons. The field of facial attractiveness research is extensive and includes data that invalidates the concepts of phi and the neoclassical canons as tools that can be used to assess attractiveness in various ethnicities. Here, I provide analysis of the facial attractiveness research and propose a novel methodology and statistical model to objectively quantify ethnicity-specific beauty, which includes, but is not limited to, the components of averageness (koinophilia), symmetry, sexual dimorphism, youthfulness, and skin tone. Additionally, consideration is given to the perception of beauty as shaped by the age, gender and ethnicity of the subject as well as the observer. An objective tool for the classification of attractiveness is extremely complex, therefore subjective and objective ratings systems will be employed to glean meaningful data that may one day elucidate the factors that define the beauty gestalt.

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