Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beautiful is Average

This girl is not really real- she is a composite of about 30 different women. She is significantly more beautiful than any of her constituent faces. If you don't believe me you can mix and match your own faces at "Face Research". (Beware- this is unusually addictive!).

If you login and upload your own photo, you can manipulate the image in all sorts of cool ways: e.g. 'mate' yourself with others and see what your offspring would look like had your partner been (for example) a Mohican, African etc. I'm hoping to have a child with Angelina Jolie and will post him/her when available.

Apparently there is good research to support the idea that averaged faces are judged to be more attractive than individuals... contrary to the 'common sense' view that places 'beauty' at one end of a spectrum. These faces however, seem to lose all wrinkles, smile lines, blemishes etc. The averaged hairdo's and clothing give them 'auras'...the end result is that they always end up looking somewhat ethereal.

Maybe this principle applies to other aspects of life: e.g. the wisdom of crowds? (why 250 million dumbass voters might actually pick the best candidate).

Perhaps an averaged house, dress, symphony, novel would be better than any bespoke individual?


  1. I just finished a series of books that performed surgery on all children at age 16 to morph them into the perfect symmetrical being...I don't think they ever got to vote on anything though.

  2. What books were they? Symmetry does seem to be a factor in beauty i think.

    I recall reading that people tend to overestimate the intelligence of beautiful people ... so maybe they should be discouraged from voting!

  3. The books are youth fiction by Scott Westerfeld - The Uglies series. My daughter insisted and who am I to dicourage her enthusiasm?

    I agree with you about beautiful people; however, there is always an exception as I'm in the 95th percentile IQ-wise. lol


Whaddaya think?