Presentation on theme: "We may not like to admit it, but beauty is an important factor in many decisions we make about our lives--- from hiring an employee to choosing a romantic."— Presentation transcript:
We may not like to admit it, but beauty is an important factor in many decisions we make about our lives--- from hiring an employee to choosing a romantic partner. So you may be asking what exactly determines beauty?
The media is often blamed for our societys obsession with beauty.
Is beauty a matter of individual taste or culture? Or is sensitivity to beauty due to an instinct that has been shaped by natural selection?
Studies on the scientific nature of beauty have been conducted by numerous individuals and are discussed in books such as Nancy Etcoffs Survival of the Prettiest. She takes an evolutionary view and searches for what it is in nature that makes us susceptible to beauty and what qualities people possess that evoke these responses. Etcoff challenges the idea that the media is to blame for our obsession with looks, and stresses the fact that no one is immune to appearances. If the world were to eliminate every magazine and media form containing images of youthful, flawless bodies, we would still create and desire these images in our minds.
WHY? Because individuals who share similar evolutionary views as Etcoff insist that the ability to perceive beauty and respond to it has been with us for as long as we have been men and women. As hunter-gatherers for the majority of human history, we must look back to understand our own instincts and see that those who noticed signs of beauty and desired their possessors had the most reproductive success. Could numbers determine beauty and reproductive success?
"All life is biology. All biology is physiology. All physiology is chemistry. All chemistry is physics. All physics is math." Dr. Stephen Marquardt
In ancient Greece, Helen of Troy was the paragon of beauty, exuding a physical brilliance unlike any other. She was the pride of Athens celebrated often for her physical perfection. But why did the Greek men find Helen, and other beautiful women, so attractive? In order to find an answer, the philosophers of the day devoted a great deal of time attempting to solve the question of beauty. Is beauty determined strictly by personal taste or are the some elements of beauty that we are all naturally and unavoidably drawn to? Plato wrote of so-called "golden proportions," in which, amongst other things, the width of an ideal face would be two-thirds its length, while a nose would be no longer than the distance between the eyes. Helen of Troy
1.618 : 1 The Golden Ratio The Golden Mean The Golden Section The Divine Ratio The Fibonacci Ratio The Phi Ratio Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or in the phi of the beholder?
The blue line defines a perfect square of the pupils and outside corners of the mouth. The golden section of these four blue lines defines the nose, the tip of the nose, the inside of the nostrils, the two rises of the upper lip and the inner points of the ear. The blue line also defines the distance from the upper lip to the bottom of the chin. The yellow line, a golden section of the blue line, defines the width of the nose, the distance between the eyes and eye brows and the distance from the pupils to the tip of the nose. The green line, a golden section of the yellow line defines the width of the eye, the distance at the pupil from the eye lash to the eye brow and the distance between the nostrils. The magenta line, a golden section of the green line, defines the distance from the upper lip to the bottom of the nose and several dimensions of the eye. The Human Face is Based Entirely on Phi The head forms a golden rectanglethe eyes located at its center point. The mouth and nose are each placed at golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin. Line Segments Representing Phi
The lines are part of a unisex beauty mask/archetype that allegedly depicts the facial proportions of the most beautiful face. Sara Mohan with a superimposed beauty mask that is the brainchild of Stephen Marquardt of Marquardt Beauty Analysis. Stephen Marquardt, a surgeon, has worked on human beauty for decades and claims to have described facial beauty by assembling several decagonal matrixes formed of golden-ratio sections to form a beauty mask.
This mask uses the pentagon and decagon as its foundation, which embody phi in all their dimensions. Images courtesy of http://www.goldennumber.net, Gary B. Meisner, Copyright 2005.
AsianCaucasianBlack 1350 B.C. Egypt 1794 A.D.164 A.D. Rome 500 B.C. Greece Images courtesy of http://www.goldennumber.net, Gary B. Meisner, Copyright 2005.
The human profile according to the Golden Ratio. The human ear following the Fibonacci sequence.
Phi is even seen in the dimensions of beautiful teeth PHI= -the rectangle formed by the front two incisors with the ratio between the height and width -the ratio of the width of the first tooth to the second tooth -the ratio of the center to the third tooth and to the end of the smile
Critiques of the Golden Ratio Theory Can it really all lie in numbers?
With continued research long past the time of ancient Greeks, it has been determined that Platos proportions havent held up strongly against modern psychological and biological research; however ancient Greek philosophers were onto something when they attempted to define beauty by numbers. Their attempts to say that human beings do not personally determine what is beautiful based on individual taste was pointing toward the strong scientific determinants of beauty. Today, symmetry has been scientifically proven to be inherently attractive to the human eye. It has been defined not with proportions, but rather with similarity between the left and right sides of the face. So, the Greeks were only partially correct.
Extensive research shows that babies spend more time staring at pictures of symmetrical individuals than they do at photos of asymmetric ones, and that, even among adults, photos which individuals claim to be beautiful are ultimately labeled as being extremely symmetrical. Victor Johnston of New Mexico State University, for example, utilizes a program called FacePrints, which shows viewers facial images of variable attractiveness. The viewers then rate the pictures on a beauty scale from one to nine. In what is akin to digital Darwinism, the pictures with the best ratings are merged together, while the less attractive photos are weeded out. Each trial ends when a viewer deems the composite a 10. All the perfect 10s are super-symmetrical. Journal of Young Investigators
Scientists say that symmetrical preference is a highly evolved trait seen in many different animals. Among the multiple examples in nature that point to the centrality of symmetry includes the fact that female swallows prefer males with longer and more symmetric tails, while female zebra finches mate with males with symmetrically colored leg bands. The rationale behind symmetry preference in both humans and animals is that symmetric individuals have a higher mate-value; scientists believe that this symmetry is equated with a strong immune system. Thus, beauty is indicative of more robust genes, improving the likelihood that an individual's offspring will survive. Journal of Young Investigators
Over the last few years, biologists have looked at the animal kingdom, and they've made a few discoveries about symmetry, and how it relates to beauty and fitness. First, animals that are more symmetrical are more likely to attract a mate. One scientist found that he could turn attractive male swallows into unattractive male swallows (and also ruin their chances of a good sex life) by clipping their tail feathers with scissors. Secondly, symmetry is related to fitness. Horses that are more symmetrical run faster than horses that are less symmetrical. In one study, biologists measured some ten features on 73 thoroughbreds - features such as the thickness of the knee, or the width of the nostrils. The differences they could measure were quite small, and probably had nothing directly to do with how fast the horse could run. In fact, symmetry is probably a good indicator of general health and strength. Our imperfect world is full of nasty chemicals and germs. Only those individuals that are lucky enough to inherit a sturdy genetic makeup, and are also lucky enough to get good nutrition while they're growing, will end up being more symmetrical. -abc.net
In recent research studies, the majority of males voiced that a symmetrical face and body is the most highly sought-after and attractive feature in a woman.
Darwin thought that there were few universals of physical beauty because there was much variance in appearance and preference across human groups, --John Manning of the University of Liverpool in England According to a University of Louisville study, whites, Asians, and Latinos, from 13 different countries, when shown pictures of different individuals all had the same general preferences when rating others as attractive. Their preferences did not lie in a strict personal taste determined by the individual or the culture he or she represented, but rather, a defining and universal sign of beauty was observed– those that are the most symmetrical.
If beauty lies in numbers, does beauty ultimately mean perfection?
Consider Marquardts beauty mask again. The shaded nasal region is unambiguously European, especially in the upper nasal region, and most non-whites and a number of whites dont possess this type of nose. Most non-whites--and some whites, too--have no hope of producing offspring with fine nasal bones, especially the upper nasal region.
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