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Beauty Really Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. According to a new study published in the journal Current Biology, research concerning twins reveals that differences of opinion on attractiveness are linked to individual personal experiences unique to each person.


Image: LLL

The investigative team acknowledged that certain aspects of attractiveness—such as facial symmetry–are universal, many people do indeed have “types”. This project demonstrated that even genetically similar subjects do not have the same specific ideas of beauty.

In this study the research team studied facial preferences of more than 35,000 subjects in an online test conducted by research team members Jeremy Wilmer of Wellesley College and Laura Germine of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University. The initial test results allowed the investigative team to design a second test to study individual face preferences. The data was then applied to 214 pairs of fraternal twins and 547 pairs of identical twins.

Next the researchers asked the twins to rate the attractiveness of 200 faces on a scale of one to seven, with one being the least attractive and seven being the most attractive. Then 660 non-twins were given the same survey. Results of a comparison between the non-identical and identical twins aided in establishing to what extent environment influence held over genetics in reference to perceived facial features or beauty.

The research team learned that the majority of twin-scores were very different thus proving that every individual’s idea of what’s attractive is born of personal experience as opposed to genetics. The study noted that “shared environments over individual environments” are probably significant in determining beauty. They do, however, admit that the test population was not very diverse.

In a press release, Germine stated: “The types of environments that are important are not those that are shared by those who grow up in the same family, but are much more subtle and individual.”  She concluded that unique experiences that could involve one’s friends and even social media can also influence on one’s perception of beauty.

Beauty Really Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.