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Subjective Aspects of Beauty

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Beauty and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Abstract

Human attractiveness is often considered a function of physical features such as facial averageness, symmetry, and sexual dimorphism. Scientific literature supports such physical features as the universal criteria for human attractiveness. However, the perception of attractiveness is influenced by more information than static physical characteristics alone can convey. Ideals of beauty are often particular to the beholder and determined by the norms of a society, culture, or historical period; and they are, at least in part, subjective. This chapter examines how standards for beauty are subject to dynamic physical and nonphysical characteristics of the target, the perceiver, and the surrounding environment. In the following, we outline how beauty ideals can be influenced by: (a) non-static physical cues such as facial expression and gaze that may suggest personality; (b) contextual factors of the perceiver and the target; (c) local and cultural environment; (d) historical period; and (e) mass media and globalization. Although modern day studies have delineated valid objective criteria to evaluate beauty, judgment of what is beautiful does fluctuate across relationship contexts, personalities, societies, cultures, and time; and thus, continues to evade complete standardization.

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Correspondence to Neelam A. Vashi MD .

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Vashi, N., Quay, E. (2015). Subjective Aspects of Beauty. In: Vashi, N. (eds) Beauty and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-17867-7_4

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