Attraction independent of detection suggests special mechanisms for symmetry preferences in human face perception

Anthony C. Little, Benedict Christopher Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Symmetrical human faces are attractive and it has been proposed that humans have a specialized mechanism for detecting symmetry in faces and that sensitivity to symmetry determines symmetry preferences. Here, we show that symmetry preferences are influenced by inversion, whereas symmetry detection is not and that within individuals the ability to detect facial symmetry is not related to preferences for facial symmetry. Taken together, these findings suggest that symmetry preferences are indeed driven by a mechanism that is independent of conscious detection. A specialized mechanism for symmetry preference independent of detection may be the result of specific pressures faced by human ancestors to select high-quality mates and could support a modular view of mate choice. Unconscious mechanisms determining face preferences may explain why the reasons behind attraction are often difficult to articulate and demonstrate that detection alone cannot explain symmetry preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3093-3099
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences
Volume273
Issue number1605
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • symmetry
  • preference
  • detection
  • bias
  • face perception
  • evolution
  • upside-d9own faces
  • facial attractiveness
  • bilateral symmetry
  • sexual dimorphism
  • god genes
  • selection
  • beauty
  • brain
  • averageness

Cite this

Attraction independent of detection suggests special mechanisms for symmetry preferences in human face perception. / Little, Anthony C.; Jones, Benedict Christopher.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, Vol. 273, No. 1605, 2006, p. 3093-3099.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{24723a4e72b7423ba3c7933719ca19e6,
title = "Attraction independent of detection suggests special mechanisms for symmetry preferences in human face perception",
abstract = "Symmetrical human faces are attractive and it has been proposed that humans have a specialized mechanism for detecting symmetry in faces and that sensitivity to symmetry determines symmetry preferences. Here, we show that symmetry preferences are influenced by inversion, whereas symmetry detection is not and that within individuals the ability to detect facial symmetry is not related to preferences for facial symmetry. Taken together, these findings suggest that symmetry preferences are indeed driven by a mechanism that is independent of conscious detection. A specialized mechanism for symmetry preference independent of detection may be the result of specific pressures faced by human ancestors to select high-quality mates and could support a modular view of mate choice. Unconscious mechanisms determining face preferences may explain why the reasons behind attraction are often difficult to articulate and demonstrate that detection alone cannot explain symmetry preferences.",
keywords = "symmetry, preference, detection, bias, face perception, evolution, upside-d9own faces, facial attractiveness, bilateral symmetry, sexual dimorphism, god genes, selection, beauty, brain, averageness",
author = "Little, {Anthony C.} and Jones, {Benedict Christopher}",
year = "2006",
doi = "10.1098/rspb.2006.3679",
language = "English",
volume = "273",
pages = "3093--3099",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences",
issn = "0962-8452",
publisher = "ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY",
number = "1605",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Attraction independent of detection suggests special mechanisms for symmetry preferences in human face perception

AU - Little, Anthony C.

AU - Jones, Benedict Christopher

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - Symmetrical human faces are attractive and it has been proposed that humans have a specialized mechanism for detecting symmetry in faces and that sensitivity to symmetry determines symmetry preferences. Here, we show that symmetry preferences are influenced by inversion, whereas symmetry detection is not and that within individuals the ability to detect facial symmetry is not related to preferences for facial symmetry. Taken together, these findings suggest that symmetry preferences are indeed driven by a mechanism that is independent of conscious detection. A specialized mechanism for symmetry preference independent of detection may be the result of specific pressures faced by human ancestors to select high-quality mates and could support a modular view of mate choice. Unconscious mechanisms determining face preferences may explain why the reasons behind attraction are often difficult to articulate and demonstrate that detection alone cannot explain symmetry preferences.

AB - Symmetrical human faces are attractive and it has been proposed that humans have a specialized mechanism for detecting symmetry in faces and that sensitivity to symmetry determines symmetry preferences. Here, we show that symmetry preferences are influenced by inversion, whereas symmetry detection is not and that within individuals the ability to detect facial symmetry is not related to preferences for facial symmetry. Taken together, these findings suggest that symmetry preferences are indeed driven by a mechanism that is independent of conscious detection. A specialized mechanism for symmetry preference independent of detection may be the result of specific pressures faced by human ancestors to select high-quality mates and could support a modular view of mate choice. Unconscious mechanisms determining face preferences may explain why the reasons behind attraction are often difficult to articulate and demonstrate that detection alone cannot explain symmetry preferences.

KW - symmetry

KW - preference

KW - detection

KW - bias

KW - face perception

KW - evolution

KW - upside-d9own faces

KW - facial attractiveness

KW - bilateral symmetry

KW - sexual dimorphism

KW - god genes

KW - selection

KW - beauty

KW - brain

KW - averageness

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2006.3679

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2006.3679

M3 - Article

VL - 273

SP - 3093

EP - 3099

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8452

IS - 1605

ER -