Presentation on theme: "Beauty and Attractiveness Overview of The Day What influences how we perceive human beauty and attractiveness? Honest signals, handicaps, and asymmetry."— Presentation transcript:
Beauty and Attractiveness Overview of The Day What influences how we perceive human beauty and attractiveness? Honest signals, handicaps, and asymmetry Facial beauty--theories and controversies Height-to-Head Ratio
Approaches to thinking about attractiveness and beauty zBeauty is in the eye of the beholder yIdiosyncratic. What is one persons passion is anthers poison zBeauty is culturally determined yStandards of beauty are arbitrarily defined by cultural standards zBeauty is based on evolved psychological mechanisms yAll people perceive the same beauty-cues because they are signals of health, fertility and/or good genes
What makes someone attractive? zHow important is physical appearance? yWhat are important aspects of physical appearance? zHow important is health, robustness, vigor? Why? zHow important is socio-psychological similarity (religion, background, interests)? Why? zHow important is kindness? Why? zHow important is being conscientious & responsible? zHow important is intelligence? Why? zHow important are wealth and status (potential or current)?
Attractiveness Issues in Stories of Betrayed Love xPassages regarding what Analia thought Luis Torres might look like, his appearance xIntimacy that developed with the letters xLuis Torres character xWould she have fallen in love with the crippled school teacher when she was a young women? xBecause she was independent and wealthy, did that affect her perception of what would make a desirable mate? That she already had a child? xWill she and the school teacher get married and have children? xHow realistic is this story about attractiveness?
Honest Advertisements of Mate Quality zHonest advertisements yTraits that distinguish one same-sex organism from another, that honestly advertise good genes and cannot be feigned (or are difficult to feign). xHandicaps xAsymmetry
Handicaps zHandicaps are biologically costly traits-- they require significant energy to produce and maintain and may reduce pathogen resistance yIn human males: large body size and musculature yIn females: breast size
Handicaps are related to: zBiological robustness zPathogen resistance zSex hormone levels zSame-sex competition (for access to members of the opposite sex)
Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) yMorphological traits for which the signed differences have a mean of about zero xfoot, ankle, hand, wrist, elbow, ear width, ear and pinky length yAsymmetry results from developmental instability (environmental stress, primarily from pathogens, during development) ySymmetry (lack of FA) signals robustness, resistance to parasites and other pathogens
FA is related to zIQ (low FA related to slightly higher IQs) zIn men, body mass, physicality, social dominance, and metabolic rate zIn women, breast asymmetry is related to number of offspring, having children later in life, marital status; ear symmetry is related to left-side infant cradling zNot related to facial attractiveness
Mannings Theory of Breast Size and Symmetry zSize yBreast size is influenced by fat levels and estrogen yEstrogen and other sex steroids have been implicated in immunosuppression (suppresses immune system) yLess-robust individuals cannot afford large quantities of immunosuppressants (e.g., estrogen)
Mannings Theory of Breast Size and Symmetry zSymmetry yRapid breast growth during puberty can generate asymmetry yMore robust individuals will be able to maintain symmetry during puberty zBreast size and symmetry are honest signals
FA and Sexual Behavior zExperiment with barn swallows (tail symmetry) zMen with low FA have: more sexual partners, more extra-pair sex, are chosen more often by women in extra-pair affairs yNot found with women zWomen are more likely to have orgasms with low FA men
Question for women? zIf you want to be happy for the rest of your life, better make an asymmetric man your husband. yLess likely to fool around yLess attractive to other women yMore likely to invest in you and your children
Controversies zKalick, et al. study ycorrelated ratings of photos (facial) with health data. yFacial attractiveness was unrelated to health yIs this evidence debunking the FA theory?
What Makes a Face Beautiful? zAverageness of features zSymmetry of features zUniqueness of features zFeminine qualities yfuller lips, larger eyes, shorter length, and rounder jaw
Some Theories about Facial Attractiveness zAverage features ydesirable in women because easier to identify paternity z Unique features ydesirable in men because easier to identify paternity zFeminine features ydesirable in women--signals high estrogen and fertility ydesirable in men--signals a more investing man
Height-to-Head Ratio: Another Honest Signal? zAverage H-t-H ratio is about 6.5 to 7.0 zNBA stars, 8.6; Top female models, 8.0 zPropaganda art yfavorable, 10.0; unfavorable, 5.5 zReasons why H-t-H ratio is a marker: yhonest signal of genotype yheight and status yheight and maturity
Summary yWhat influences how we perceive human beauty and attractiveness? yHonest signals, handicaps, and asymmetry yFacial beauty--theories and controversies yHeight-to-Head Ratio