Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 482–487

Why are average faces attractive? The effect of view and averageness on the attractiveness of female faces

Brief Reports

DOI: 10.3758/BF03196599

Cite this article as:
Valentine, T., Darling, S. & Donnelly, M. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2004) 11: 482. doi:10.3758/BF03196599


Images of faces manipulated to make their shapes closer to the average are perceived as more attractive. The influences of symmetry and averageness are often confounded in studies based on full-face views of faces. Two experiments are reported that compared the effect of manipulating the averageness of female faces in profile and full-face views. Use of a profile view allows a face to be ”morphed“ toward an average shape without creating an image that becomes more symmetrical. Faces morphed toward the average were perceived as more attractive in both views, but the effect was significantly stronger for full-face views. Both full-face and profile views morphed away from the average shape were perceived as less attractive. It is concluded that the effect of averageness is independent of any effect of symmetry on the perceived attractiveness of female faces.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonEngland

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