Perceiving Beauty Is Based On Experience, Not Genetics

By R. Siva Kumar - 03 Oct '15 22:39PM
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Now who said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

Well, he was dead right. Scientists feel that while some aspects of beauty are universal and encoded in our genes, a recent study showed that everyone has his or her own specific "types," according to Cell Press .

"We estimate that an individual's aesthetic preferences for faces agree about 50 percent, and disagree about 50 percent, with others," wrote joint leaders of this project, Laura Germine of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University and Jeremy Wilmer of Wellesley College. "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."

Face preferences of 35,000 volunteers on the site TestMyBrain.org  were assessed. Scientists used information to compile a "highly efficient and effective" test of diverse preferences. They were used in order to compare the inclinations of 547 pairs of identical twins and 214 pairs of "same-sex, non-identical twins".

While genes has been attributed to most human traits, the new information shows that it is based more on experiences than genes.

"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," Germine said.

These results give an insight into the "evolution and architecture" of the social brain. Scientists are trying to identify the kinds of experiences that make the largest influences on face preference.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal Current Biology.

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