Beauty and the average girl

Flickr user Pierre Tourigny has created a series of composite images from popular portrait rating website Hot or Not? that nicely demonstrates our bias for perceiving average faces as beautiful.

He’s made average images from a series of female faces but divided them up into the scoring categories, so there’s an average of faces rated 5 to 5.4, 5.5 to 5.9 and so on.

The average image of the highest rated faces, and an average of faces from all rating categories are shown on the left, although the whole range is on Tourigny’s Flickr page.

If you do have a look at the full series, you’ll notice that the overall average face seems more attractive than the composite face created from images rated in the average range (5-5.4).

Previously on Mind Hacks, we reported on research that suggested that faces created from the average of many others possibly seem more beautiful because they’re easier for the brain to process.

This may be because our brain does a similar averaging process to create a ‘face template’ which we use during face recognition.

Faces that deviate least from this template are easier to match and, therefore, tend to be seen as more attractive.

This, of course, is not the complete story as cultural ideas of what is considered beautiful and perhaps even specific ways in which a face could differ from the ‘template’ might also contribute to our subjective perception of beauty.

Link to Pierre Tourigny’s ‘Average Face Scale’.
Link to previous post on facial attractiveness perception on Mind Hacks.

6 Comments

  1. Posted February 12, 2007 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I wonder if it is because individual imperfections get averaged out when combining multiple faces? The face also tends to get softer when averaging. Portrait photographers often tend to soften the skin to make it look more attractive.

  2. Enlil
    Posted February 12, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    But.. what about the guys? :-o

  3. EricB
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting post. I also experimented with the photo from Seed Magazine a few months ago, and posted about our perception of beauty here:

    http://eric-blue.com/blog/2006/12/morphing_faces_of_beauty.html

  4. Posted March 9, 2007 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    we studied the same thing in class but what i still dont get is why the exotic, different, sometimes even a little ugly faces seem so attractive? think of models (and cleopatra ;))

  5. Naveed Akhtar
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Images create a lot of difference in mind satisfaction and attract the user to spend some time mostly young people do more these attraction than the others
    If you want to see more interested and sweet funny clips then you have to visit on phantoo.com

  6. Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Images create a lot of difference in mind satisfaction and attract the user to spend some time mostly young people do more these attraction than the others
    If you want to see more interested and sweet funny clips then you have to visit on phantoo.com


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