featurespace - Female faces and bodies 1 Running head:...

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Unformatted text preview: Female faces and bodies 1 Running head: FEMALE FACES AND BODIES Key words: ugliness, beauty, prototypes, symmetry, skin condition, body color, decision making, averageness, stimulus complexity Grammer, K., Fink, B., Juette, A., Ronzal, G. & Thornhill, R. (2001). Female faces and bodies: n-dimensional feature space and attractiveness. In: G. Rhodes & L.A. Zebrobwitz (Eds.). Advances in Visual Cognition. Volume I: Facial Attractiveness . Ablex Publishing. pp. 91-125. Female faces and bodies: N-dimensional feature space and attractiveness Karl Grammer, Bernhard Fink, Astrid Juette, Gudrun Ronzal Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology Althanstrasse 14 A-1090 Vienna Austria Randy Thornhill Department of Biology The University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131 USA Female faces and bodies 2 Summary Many studies show that female attractiveness plays an important role in human mate selec- tion. Research in the past has focused on the influence of single features, e.g., eye size or breast size, in attractiveness judgements. In recent years, bilateral symmetry and averageness or prototypic appearance have been discussed as possible general principles of attractiveness. The puzzle remaining is which features actually contribute to the perception of attractiveness and how are these integrated to result in attractiveness attribution. In this paper we propose that attractiveness perception and judgment takes place in a multidimensional feature space. If attractiveness signals mate quality honestly, the single features making up the multiple dimension should actually correlate positively and thereby compose a single ornament of mate value. In a rating study, three sets of males (each n = 10) rated three views (face alone, nude back, and nude front with face covered) of digital images of women (n = 92) in Austria as well as in the USA. Symmetry, averageness, skin color, hair color, stimulus complexity and surface texture were assessed with digital image analysis. Thirty-six features on the digital images were measured by hand at anatomically defined points. A principal component analysis reveals that the n-dimensional feature space can be reduced to four main dimensions. Computer simulations of the possible underlying cognitive decision making imply that a fast and frugal algorithm, which uses the rule “ simply avoid the worst ,” best explains attractiveness ratings. Thus, beauty could be a negative concept, which finds its expression in the avoidance of ugliness. Beauty Perception And Cultural Relativism Charles Darwin wrote in 1872 in his book The Descent of Man : “It is certainly not true that there is in the mind of man any universal standard of beauty with respect to the Female faces and bodies 3 human body” and “It is, however, possible that certain tastes may in the course of time become inherited, though I know of no evidence in favor of this belief.” Charles Darwin came to the conclusion that there are highly variable beauty standards...
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featurespace - Female faces and bodies 1 Running head:...

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