Computer graphic studies of the role of facial similarity in judgements of attractiveness

I S Penton-Voak, D I Perrett, J W Peirce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

Anecdotally, spouses are often said to resemble one another. This study investigates the effects of similarity between participants and stimuli on judgements of facial attractiveness: does "like prefer like"? Using computer graphic techniques, opposite sex facial stimuli were generated from subjects' photographs. Experiment 1 showed a correlation between attractiveness and similarity but the effect can be explained by the attractiveness of average faces. Beyond this, there was a trend for individual subjects to rate opposite sex images with a similar face shape to their own face as more attractive than other subjects. Experiment 2 allowed subjects to interactively manipulate an opposite sex facial image along a continuum from a self-similar shape, through an average face shape, to a face with opposite characteristics. No significant preferences for self-similar or opposite characteristics were found. Preferences for average faces are stronger than preferences for self-similar faces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-117
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Psychology
Volume18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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