, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 104-117

Computer graphic studies of the role of facial similarity in judgements of attractiveness

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Anecdotally, spouses are often said to resemble one another. This study investigates the effects of similarity between participants and stimuli on judgements of facial attractiveness: does “like prefer like”? Using computer graphic techniques, opposite sex facial stimuli were generated from subjects' photographs. Experiment 1 showed a correlation between attractiveness and similarity but the effect can be explained by the attractiveness of average faces. Beyond this, there was a trend for individual subjects to rate opposite sex images with a similar face shape to their own face as more attractive than other subjects. Experiment 2 allowed subjects to interactively manipulate an opposite sex facial image along a continuum from a self-similar shape, through an average face shape, to a face with opposite characteristics. No significant preferences for self-similar or opposite characteristics were found. Preferences for average faces are stronger than preferences for self-similar faces.