Beauty is an average

Sara Goudarzi of LiveScience reporting on a new study:

While eyes are the vehicles for receiving visual images, the brain decides how attractive those images are. Attractiveness appears to be related to how easy you can wrap your brain around a face.

“A stimulus beomces attractive if it falls into the average of what you’ve seen and is therefore simple for your brain to process,” said study author Piotr Winkielman, of the University of California, San Diego. “In our experiments, we show that we can make an arbitrary pattern likeable just by preparing the mind to recognize it quickly.”

Neat. These guys have simultaenously discovered why on earth anybody has ever bought a minimalist art painting, why provincial homely-looking married couples really do think their spouse is the peachiest thing, and why nearly everybody listens to the very crappiest music they can find.


4 responses to “Beauty is an average

  1. “Attractiveness appears to be related to how easy you can wrap your brain around a face.”

    Hmmm…I think technically you wrap a face around your brain, and not the other way around. I’m no physician, but I think there’s also a skull in there somewhere.

  2. Yet if we’re talking about attraction between another person, the brain doesn’t always come into play at all and some go straight to wrapping their face around the other’s face.

  3. We’d like to think that there were some biologically determined reason for the popularity of crappy music, but I’m afraid it is really just a case of preference. People, of their own free will, prefer crappy music! The same could be said of all sorts of lamentably popular things.

  4. I disagree. The phenomenon is as disturbing enough as it is commonplace that we really should be studying it more.

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