Is facial attractiveness all down to looks?

Sydney: A researcher in England says physical attractiveness might be determined by the way people move their faces and alter their voices instead of by the way they look.

Ed Morrison, the evolutionary psychologist from the University of Portsmouth, will conduct a study to find out if attractiveness is determined by fixed aspects, such as symmetry of the face, or whether changing expressions and variation of voice can have an effect.

“The old expression ‘the camera never lies’ might be proved wrong. There is a widespread assumption that photographs can capture the entirety of facial attractiveness but I want to challenge this belief by proving that facial movement and vocal variability are also important,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.

“Attractiveness is important in areas such as romantic partnerships but also for non-romantic friendships, and in more surprising cases such as hiring, voting and jury decisions. Attractive people are often treated more favourably and are assumed to do better in life. Therefore understanding the basis of facial attractiveness judgments is crucial because it influences so many face-to-face interactions,” he explained.

Morrison predicted that his study would show people change their facial movement and alter their voice when they interact with a person they are attracted to.

He explained that his research will allow him to quantify exactly how much attractiveness can be changed, and how much cannot.

Morrison will record faces in speed-dating scenarios and then use computer software to produce animations of their facial movement.

Using this motion-tracking technique, he will then be able to isolate dynamic information based on real people but whose shape has been standardised and stripped of any other distinguishing qualities.


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