Archive for the ‘Individual Differences’ Category

Low Brow Is More Attractive When You Can Look Down On It

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Sybil Geldart (2008) has found that taller people prefer faces with longer foreheads and shorter people prefer faces with longer chins. She had subjects place facial features (brows, eyes, nose, and mouth) inside the outlines of their respective faces, and found that taller subjects placed the features lower in the face while shorter subjects placed the features higher in the face. Geldart concluded that an observer’s typical viewing angle influences their sense of what is the most attractive facial configuration. That is, taller people tend to look down at others and therefore see more apparent forehead. Shorter people, on the other hand, see more apparent chin as a result of more often seeing faces from below. The effect was stronger when the ears were fully or partially visible in the stimulus (as on the left), r = .51 than when ears were not visible, r = .38. There was more variance in feature positioning when the ears were occluded: probably the result of ears functioning as configural anchors for the other features.

Upper and lower face heights appear to maintain consistent proportions throughout adult development and I have not seen data suggesting significant sex differences in these facial areas. Pending replication, Geldart seems to have found another source of individual difference in the evaluation of attractiveness.

Wayne Hooke

ResearchBlogging.orgGeldart, S. (2008). Tall and Good-Looking? Journal of Individual Differences, 29 (3), 148-156 DOI: 10.1027/1614-0001.29.3.148