So the other day at work we were having a discussion in the office about the psychology of attraction. Ok, so I was talking about the psychology of attraction, everyone else was pretty much just listing off celebrities they fancied. I brought up the research showing that if you present someone with an face that is an average composite of a series of other faces they will in general find that average face more attractive than any of the individual faces that make it up. And before you ask, yes the research really does seem to indicate that it is the averageness we find attractive, rather than the symmetry such faces may possess….though interestingly enough there is some indication that the faces we find really attractive are far from average. But I’m getting off topic.
In order to make my case, because damn it what’s the point of a random office discussion if you don’t present evidence to back up what you are saying, I fired up a bit of face modification software I used during my under-graduate and produced this lovely lady:
This undoubtedly attractive face was produced by averaging out the features of 14 already very attractive celebrities. So, the question is what does this prove….other than I clearly watch way too many geeky TV programs? Does this show that averageness is what we find attractive? Is this average face really more attractive than any of the faces making it up alone, or are those features that are anything but average the things that really make a face appealing? I for one am not sure, but then maybe I skewed the experiment by using faces that already exhibit a high degree of averageness in the first place.
Let me know what you think. Which of these 15 faces do you find most attractive?
UPDATE 31/08/2016 – If you fancy having a go at creating average faces of your own you can do so at this Face Research Website. Enjoy.