The attractive face unmasked

Science News has an excellent cover article discussing the psychology of facial attractiveness and rounds-up some of the latest cognitive science research in the area.

It covers research on quite well-worn areas, such as symmetry, masculinity and femininity in faces, but also picks up on some of the new developments that have been tackled only recently.

Other missing elements in evaluating beauty have begun to emerge with the use of new technology. Video techniques have allowed for dynamic rather than static interpretations of beauty.

“Real faces move,” says Edward Morrison of the University of Bristol in England. “If you show someone a moving face, they can recognize it quicker. There is more information.”

And it turns out that how faces move may contribute to how good they look. In a 2007 paper [pdf] in Evolution and Human Behavior, Morrison reported that more of the movements known to be indicators of femininity — blinking, nodding and head tilting — made women’s faces more attractive to male and female volunteers.

“Movement can convey important meanings,” Morrison says. “If that person likes you or doesn’t. If that person is being aggressive. If the person is being flirtatious. The face can start to convey these kinds of things.”

Link to ScienceNews piece ‘It‚Äôs written all over your face’.

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