What kind of people we consider beautiful?

Why do some people and people we like and dislike some cause? If the matter only in taste, it is worth arguing about them? Psychologists understand Jeremy Wilmer and Laura Jermyn.

What kind of people we consider beautiful?

PHOTO Getty Images

Is it, as I thought the writer Oscar Wilde, "beauty - in the eye of the beholder"? Recent studies suggest this assumption 1. In 50% of cases we assess the attractiveness of people, based on their own life experiences. "If you and I asked to rank photos of people on the attractiveness, I assure you, in half the time our preference would coincide," - says psychologist Jeremy Wilmer (Jeremy Wilmer). The study, which he held together with colleagues, consisted of two parts. First 35 thousand people went to the site and testmybrain.org evaluated several dozen portraits offered to them by the level of attractiveness. From earlier work it is known that most of us like symmetrical faces. That symmetry and modern standards of beauty define the range of half of the cases. And what about the other half? On what basis the participants choose an attractive face?

Then, for a similar experiment, 547 pairs of twins were invited and 214 pairs of fraternal twins. This was done in order to study the reaction of genetically identical individuals, which are also grown in the same conditions, and understand the role that nature and nurture play in evaluating the attractiveness of people. "If the leadership role really played by genes, the twins must be absolutely identical in their choice, as opposed to the twins, - says Jeremy Wilmer - but on the other hand, if the atmosphere in the family and social education play an important role, we expect that and twins coincide in their preferences. " The experimental results have refuted this assumption.

"In our case, we found that, in spite of the genetic similarity of twins, their aesthetic preferences are radically different", - says Jeremy Wilmer. According to the scientist, this is because that the attractiveness of the person we evaluate based on their personal preferences, which is not the similarity of genes or common childhood.

What determines our choices? What kind of people we consider beautiful? At Jermyn psychologist Laura (Laura Germine), co-author Jeremy Wilmer, there are several hypotheses. "If you look at a person and it associates you with something pleasant, then his face will seem more beautiful, - she explains. - And vice versa. If someone's appearance is a negative association, you never call a person attractive, his features would you trouble. That is why good friends seem to us more beautiful than familiar. The whole point of positive emotions that we experience. " But that's not all. If the features of your loved ones, friends, that you find beautiful, coincide with the facial features of people unfamiliar to you or colleagues, most likely, you will feel them the location they will be pleasing to you. If, however, in the face you can not see any familiar features, it is like you less.

Simply put, our taste in many ways affects not the environment in which we grew up, not genes and not the generally accepted standards, namely the emotions and experiences that we have experienced and which for us are related to someone's appearance. Scientists do not cease to carry out research on this subject, and who knows what else will show up? But while the science says, yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

For details, see. Online edition of The Time.

1 L. Germine "Individual aesthetic preferences for faces are shaped mostly by environments, not genes", Current Biology, October 2015.