Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 267–283 | Cite as

Symmetry in Motion: Perception of Attractiveness Changes with Facial Movement

  • Susan M. Hughes
  • Toe Aung
Original Paper


Facial symmetry is an index of developmental stability and shows a positive correlation with attractiveness assessment. However, the appearance of one’s facial symmetry is not always static and may change when there is facial movement while a person is speaking. This study examined whether viewing a dynamic image of a person speaking (where facial symmetry may alter) would elicit a different perception of attractiveness than viewing a static image of that person as a still photo. We examined changes in both measured and perceived facial symmetry in relation to attractiveness perception. We found that when facial movements created an appearance of overall greater facial symmetry while a person was speaking in a video, the person was rated as being more attractive than as a still photo. Likewise, those with facial movements measured and perceived as less symmetrical while speaking were rated as less attractive in a video clip than still photo. By examining the perception of faces in motion as we typically encounter others in real life rather than considering only static photos, we have extended the ecological validity of the study of the perception of bilateral symmetry in humans as it relates to attractiveness.


Bilateral symmetry Fluctuating asymmetry Attractiveness Dynamic faces Static faces 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentAlbright CollegeReadingUSA

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