Home > General, The Face > Symmetry Part 4: Unequal Asymmetries

Symmetry Part 4: Unequal Asymmetries

September 7, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

TTypically, the research on symmetry and attractiveness does not take the specific location of the asymmetry or asymmetries into account. Springer, et.al. (2007) compared attractiveness ratings of photos of 2 men and 2 women (like the one to the right) in the following conditions:

  • nevus free (birthmark, beauty mark, or blemish)
  • a digitally added single nevus at the numbered locations, and
  • two symmetric nevi at positions 5 & 6

The results indicate:

  • the blemish-free image was rated the most attractive
  • the further a single blemish was from the face’s midline, the less unattractive it was, and
  • symmetric blemishes were the least attractive

Additionally (and separately), canthal tilt was varied in two ways: toward and away from midline and unilaterally or bilaterally.

As the image shows, center of motion medial (CMM) produces a more lateral asymmetry while center of motion lateral (CML) produces a more medial asymmetry. The results indicate:

  • medial asymmetries were rated as less attractive than lateral asymmetries
  • minor asymmetric tilts were not unattractive
  • significant tilts were viewed more attractively when symmetric
  • slight upward tilts of the lateral canthus are attractive, slight downward tilts of the medial canthus are unattractive (perhaps associated with aging?)

The authors conclude that in general, attractiveness is reduced:

  • with increasing asymmetries, and
  • the closer the asymmetries are to midline


  • nicely designed tests of the role of asymmetry’s proximity to midline


  • Raters were stratified, but seem to have been obtained via opportunity/convenience sampling

This study, pending replication, suggests that asymmetries’ proximity to midline is a variable that can significantly influence attractiveness ratings.


Wayne Hooke

ResearchBlogging.orgSpringer, I., Wannicke, B., Warnke, P., Zernial, O., Wiltfang, J., Russo, P., Terheyden, H., Reinhardt, A., & Wolfart, S. (2007). Facial Attractiveness Annals of Plastic Surgery, 59 (2), 156-162 DOI: 10.1097/01.sap.0000252041.66540.ec

Categories: General, The Face
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