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Males predispositioned to find certain females

  1. Aug 15, 2004 #1
    What's up with beauty?

    As a male, I can look at some females and I think they are absolutetly gorgeous and it sends a tinge down my spine. And other females I can look at them and be overly unimpressed.

    What makes us gage beauty? I feel like I am not influenced by society in what I think beautiful is. Are we genetically predispositioned to find certain females prettier than others?

    .... Any PF females feel free to add you pics :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2004 #2
    the extent of symmetry in the face or body?
    studies haf shown that the more symmetrical yr face is the more 'attractive' u r
  4. Aug 15, 2004 #3
    Facial symmetry may have been an indication of good health in previous generations, and hence more likely to give offspring.
    Youthfulness is generally associated with female beauty.
    A female that is well groomed.
    Some signals which may make it look as if they want you even if they look like this all of the time. For example large eyes mimiking the dilated eyes of love.
  5. Aug 15, 2004 #4


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    :confused: does facial symmetry really have something to do with good health?
  6. Aug 15, 2004 #5
    Probabally not but it is a possible indication of more desireable genetics.
  7. Aug 15, 2004 #6


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    I don't know if this gal is symmetric or not, but she is gorgeous in my eyes:

    Attached Files:

  8. Aug 15, 2004 #7
    The question on beauty is very interesting.

    There are curious approachs to facial beauty, based in geometry.

    For example, some authors think that beauty is related to the golden number (phi) and construct the ideal face based in the so-named golden decagon:
    http://www.beautyanalysis.com/index2_mba.htm [Broken]

    Other group suggest that beauty is associated to a fractal image:

    I think that facial beauty results from a complex interaction between biological and cultural factors. It is difficult that attractiveness be marked only by evolution. Beauty in eighteen century was differently conceived than in twenty century.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  9. Aug 15, 2004 #8
    i read somewhere that women with hourglass figures are more fertile...
  10. Aug 15, 2004 #9


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    I suppose in every recorded human language there is
    at least one word for beauty. There is probably some innate genetic basis for the aesthetic response. Some wiring in the head, not necessarily the same in everybody but identifiable by similarities.

    The most interesting question connected to beauty might be how the sense of beauty evolved. What advantage does the beauty response confer?

    An experiment was done recently to see what kind of pictures Chimpanzees like to look at. the subject could get payment of a squirt of delicious Berry Berry fruit drink (found to be a good Chimp analog for money) if he would choose the drink instead of having the picture appear.
    The researcher was Michael Platt, now at Duke University. related study with chimps has been done by Paul Glincher at NYU. I saw this in Newsweek 5July 2004

    Male chimps like to look at pictures of females in estrus (sexually receptive) and also they like to look at high-status other males----the Venus de Milos and the Michelangelo Davids of the chimp world, I guess.
    You cannot bribe them with Berry Berry juice to stop looking at what they
    like to look at. with other pictures they may show interest but will be willing to switch channels or stop for a squirt of juice.

    Peahens, i guess, like the look of big tails on adult Peacocks, otherwise why have them.

    I think humans are better than Chimps and Peahens. Humans have a highly evolved beauty sense that involves an unthinking alertness----you recognize beauty sometimes you have a chance to think and have reasons. It is a pre-rational alertness. It can apply to a bird in flight or antelopes running or the waves breaking on the shore or Mozart's music.

    I think the sense of beauty is trainable but that there is an underlying genetic basis for it. I think we have it because it has had reproductive and survival value---to know what is a well-made tool or weapon---to know a horse that will be a strong runner----to recognize a valuable new member of the group---to tell a seaworthy boat. Always the sense of beauty is misleading us, but it is also telling us things we need to know. We have a sense of beauty at least in part because it helped our ancestors fitness (reproductive success) to have a sense of beauty.

    Of course I should repeat that even though a genetic endowment it is also highly trainable so one can expect big differences in ideas of beauty in various cultures. I expect every culture to have some beauty ideas and for the senses of beauty in all humans to be more or less basically related by a web of resemblances.

    I dont see how to fit what Ryokan and Evil said in with this. They mentioned mathematical proportion and symmetry.
    However the eye is able to recognize symmetry and proportion in a pre-rational way. One sees it before one has measured. there may be some genetically determined wiring for seeing such patterns. I cannot offer any reason why it would be connected with the sense of beauty but the other posters think it is.

    Its a big topic.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2004
  11. Aug 15, 2004 #10


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    I had run into someone who was studying something called "fluctuating assymetry" as an indicator of resistance to the negative effects of adverse environmental changes. She was working at UC Irvine, but I don't remember much else about the work. The idea was that some individuals (she was studying some animal, but not humans) are more sensitive to adverse environment, and they are the ones that are less hardy I guess, and they end up with more body assymetry than those that are more hardy and less sensitive to harsh environment. I may have completely mucked up this explanation though.

    I tend to think some of what we consider attractive is learned, and some is individual. But I also think there's more to attractiveness than just looks...there's a lot to how one carries themself, such as stride when walking, or smiling, or just standing straight vs hunch-shouldered.
  12. Aug 16, 2004 #11
    no spots, blemishes, etc.
  13. Aug 16, 2004 #12
    Hello Marcus, Beauty again.

    I don't think that symmetry or fractal character have an essential function in our perception of beauty. I only showed two links which proposed such relationship.

    As you say, fitness could be part of answer. That would link with my last post to the previous thread on beautiful theories.
  14. Aug 16, 2004 #13


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    yes, ryokan,
    but this time the topic comes up in a different context---biology forum
    reminding us that our brains have evolved their ability to do whatever it is they do (including distinguish things as beautiful)

    here is a link to your post in the Philosophy of Science and Mathematics forum, that you mentioned, in case anyone wants to follow it up there:


    Just to keep alert to alternatives let's look at another possibility. Suppose we imagine as before that evolution has wired
    the sense of beauty into the human brain (as a potential which can subsequently be trained by society and experience).

    But this time instead of looking for some survival or reproductive advantage that may have driven this genetic development, let's suppose
    that the sense of beauty has evolved accidentally, perhaps collaterally as an accessory to something with biological advantage.

    maybe there is a biological advantage to being able to see symmetries
    or to able to spot a novel detail in otherwise familar background
    or to judge proportions without having to think about it.

    and maybe a sense of visual beauty came as an accessory to those useful skills, and there was not enough disadvantage to it for natural selection to suppress it.

    I thought of some examples earlier but wont mention them since anyone who wants can think of other examples of things that have evolved this way
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2004
  15. Aug 17, 2004 #14
    Yes. The beauty sense would be related to a neutral polymorphism.
  16. Aug 17, 2004 #15


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    that sounds like a testable statement
    that is, it sounds like a good way to say it that would
    permit some experiment to check it, or some prediction

    unfortunately I dont have any biology expertise.

    I wish iansmith or monique would look at this "neutral polymorphism" idea.
    Or maybe you, ryokan, are educated in biology and could see if it is
    possible to test this hypothesis.

    I am always afraid of using words that dont have operational meaning.
    Intuitively I believe that aethetic sense is biologically real. But there is always a danger of being deluded about this. It might be a purely social/cultural overlay.

    why would male animals preen and show off so much if the females did not have a sense of beauty. opera singers, especially tenors, are in the same business they are just better at it

    And there are always these impractical feedback loops:
    it makes stupid kind of SENSE for a peahen to be attracted to a cock with a beautiful tail because if she goes for him then she may have a SON who is attractive to lots of hens and thereby she may have a lot of grandchildren (reproductive success)
    It even makes genetic SENSE for women to go for the handsome seducer Don Giovanni type----so evolution would encourage women to be susceptible to philandering mustachioed playboys: the genes think it is a sound strategy. Go after what clearly attracts other women and put your genes in son with also those seductive qualities----responsibility and morality and other virtues be damned. And do it instinctively without thinking.

    rightly or wrongly, evolution seems to be promoting something like a beauty sense at least sometimes in some species.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2004
  17. Aug 18, 2004 #16
    From my viewpoint, a possible, laborious, form to test such idea would be the following:
    a) We need an experimental model. For example a behavioral test in mice, as election among partners (real or simulated) differing in some characteristics of “beauty” (defined, for example, in basis to geometric or chromatic traits). We would compare by statistical means the differential perception of such beauty, in basis to election rates.
    b) We could search then differences on a biochemical profile (pheromone production, proteins involved in sex attraction or sensorial perception and so on) between “perceptors” and “non-perceptors” of beauty..
    c) If we find some markers associated to this “beauty” perception, we would made a population genetics study, seeing if genes for these markers are associated to a reproductive advantage.
    d) From the results obtained in our experimental model, we could design an observational study in humans.

    I don’t know. This is a very fast and probably simplistic answer. Of course, the forum’s biological experts will give you a very best answer.
  18. Aug 18, 2004 #17


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    there a article published in 1994, that explain how symmetry it may be more attractive than assymettrical bodies.

    I will come back on this later

    It appears also, from other studies, that certains traits are more attractive than other for certain people because it shows a suitable & healthy genetic background (i.e. it improve the genetic variation). This is all link to the brain and appears to be hard wired in rather than learned.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2004
  19. Aug 19, 2004 #18
    in b) Of course, we would search also DNA polymorphisms (as valuable phenotypic markers)
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