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Wednesday, 25 September 2013


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Average all the images and you have American.

Isn't it curious that they are ALL pretty?. Reminds me of something I read a long time ago about that averageness and symmetry being an important component of the attractiveness of a face. :-)

[Um...did you read the post? --Mike]

I hope they did the test without the labels.

I haven't seen the study, bt as you report it, I would have lots of questions if I was doing a peer review for a journal. Including:
What were your method and criteria for "averaging"? (Your averaging algorithm)
These appear to represent somewhat "ethnic" groupings. How did you determine their membership? Did you get gene or family tree data?
Did you use available photos, or make any effort to control for lighting, retouching, or other feature modifying image factors?
What do you propose to do with the data? If you are going to evaluate "attractiveness" what method and criteria will you use?
And thats just some of the more obvious.
I suspect that the "study" was just an informal thing, possibly by graduate students. Or the source website's averager was used, which just addresses the questions to a different source.

Would be interesting to see these plotted map style to see how various features are geographically related trends. I wonder how that researcher spun this project, "yeah I need to spend time photographing young women all over the world..."

I find them all to be beautiful. I would hate to have to choose one just for beauty. Of course, there is a lot more than looks that makes a person attractive.

I like how the Irish lass is lookin' at ye like she knows that you've been at yer local all afternoon, instead of on the boat workin'.

I agree with Ned that to me they all look American, but I notice the face marked American does not look like the other averaged images, it just looks like one photo of a woman.

One of these really does not match my (admittedly limited) experience.
I spent a couple of weeks in Argentina a few years ago and was amazed at the beauty of the women there. This is augmented perhaps by the fact that staring at people there is completely acceptable. In fact, though the 20-somethings will ignore you, women over 40 will take it as a compliment and smile or nod in return. Don't try this in NYC.
Another thing I discovered there was that I could easily notice someone staring at me in the edges of my peripheral vision, where I would not have thought there was anywhere near enough resolution.
The young woman whose stare taught me this was really no more attractive than Grace Kelly was in her mid-twenties.

Clearly, whoever did the study rejected any unattractive women.

But I wonder whether they would look more or less similar if one selected a bunch of rather plain folk. One may assume the pictures would be a bit more blurry...

The usual method for averaging for this sort of display is median filter not a mean filter (the simple average that you usually think about).

Median filtering gives "better looking" (less blurry) images and as these images are quite crisp I suspect that's what they've done..

The "noise" that's being filtered by the median filter are outlier differences (most different) points in the images.


I must have a very mixed "genetic heritage".

They actually only averaged half the faces. Where are the males?

How are we now to surmise the pulchritude of a clever lady who describes herself in a personals ad as "average-looking" ?

The reason there is no Australian one can only be because the averaged face would make all the others look average

Dare I comment or say that there seems there might be some average smiles amongst them?

I guess I'm married to an averaged-looking Filipina. In all other respects, she's superior. (She read TOP sometimes).

Don't see Canada listed or as many of the world seems to believe as perpetrated by others,
we all live in igloos and eat blubber for food.

And we sure as hell are not United States
residents, Americans in familiar parlance


South Korean photog Atta Kim had an exhibit at ICP in 2006 which included several from a series called "Self Portrait" which was composites of 100 portraits. Below the composites were the photos used in making the composite. The have a similar look to these.

In the 19th century Francis Galton used a similar technique in an attempt to discover the "criminal face". He didn't.

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