Saturday 17 March 2018

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, Harvard study of twins reveals

The 'rate the face' diagram used in the study
The 'rate the face' diagram used in the study

John von Radowitz

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, a "nature or nurture" study has found.

Whether or not someone is "your type" is largely the result of unique personal experience rather than genes, researchers have said.

Scientists came to the conclusion after testing 761 identical and non-identical twins who were asked to rate the attractiveness of 200 faces.

They found that only limited notions of beauty - such as symmetry - are fairly universal and may be hard-wired into our genetic make up.

Beyond that, an individual's idea of attractiveness was shaped by that person's own unique experiences.

US researcher Dr Laura Germine, from Harvard University, said: "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, potentially including things such as one's unique, highly personal experiences with friends or peers, as well as social and popular media."

Twin studies are often used to disentangle genetic and environmental influences on behaviour.

The scientists wrote in the journal 'Current Biology': "We estimate that an individual's aesthetic preferences for faces agree about 50pc, and disagree about 50pc, with others.

"This fits with the common intuition that, on the one hand, fashion models can make a fortune with their good looks, while on the other hand, friends can endlessly debate about who is attractive and who is not."

Irish Independent

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