In a fascinating but anecdotal (and probably ultimately pointless) experiment, psychologists at the University of Glasgow in Scotland averaged the faces of young women from around the globe to create "averaged" faces of various nations.
Note that "averaged" is not at all the same thing as "average," a distinction that many websites are witlessly confusing. Markers of beauty include telltales of youth, clear complexion, facial symmetry, and lack of outlier (unusual) features—and the averaging process heightens the last three of these aspects (and the selection of source photos obviously favors the first). So the "averaged" faces tend to look universally "more attractive" than average (real) faces. This phenomenon is well known.
The researchers did not reveal either how many photographs were averaged together to get each result or how the participants were selected*.
(I'm going to assume that we're seeing a photographic artifact and that the average Romanian is not magenta.)
Another general marker of attractiveness is how close you are genetically to the type. Several commentators claim that heterosexually-oriented males can discover the main component of their own genetic heritage based on which face they find most attractive! An untested claim, but I admit I find something mysteriously alluring in the English composite (I'm Scots-English by extraction). They didn't include Scotland, which seems odd given the source of the experiment. Those from Down Under are also out of luck.
Also, kudos to those bloggers and forumers who substituted their own face or the face of a friend for one of the composites as a joke. The first one of those I saw was lol funny.
The source for most of this is FaceResearch.org, but you have to sign up and log in.
As I say, probably pointless...but still kinda fun.
(Thanks to Jeffrey Goggin)
*Possibly because some or even many of the pictures were sourced from dating/mating/marriage websites? Just a guess.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Patrick Dodds: "'Several commentators claim that heterosexually-oriented males can discover the main component of their own genetic heritage based on which face they find most attractive!' So apparently I'm Peruvian—who knew?!"
robin: "Peru looks exactly like my sister. Who is not from Peru. And is married (to forestall the next question)."
Mike replies: Is her husband named Patrick, by any chance?
"Been done before. Bad science then. Bad science now. Bah humbug."
Slotshot: "This work is based on that of Dave Perrett and during my undergrad degree, oh so many years ago, I was lucky enough to see him give a talk about this research which fascinated and inspired me. At that time the averaged = attractive research had just been published and what struck me most at the time is that the most attractive were the 'almost average,' that pre-programed tendency (if you believe in that sort of thing) to seek out someone who's quite like you but just a little bit different. A genius's life's work."