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November 2021

The attractiveness of nonface averages: Implications for an evolutionary explanation of the attractiveness of average faces

Author(s): Rhodes, G.

Journal/Book: Psychol Sci. 2000; 11: 350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishers. 285-289.

Abstract: Researchers have argued that humans' attraction to average faces reflects an evolved psychological mechanism to identify high-quality mates. If this direct-selection account is correct, there is no reason to expect a similar averageness bias for stimuli that are irrelevant to reproductive fitness. The current study, however, found a strong relationship between averageness and attractiveness for dogs wristwatches and birds. The most parsimonious explanation is that humans have a general attraction to prototypical exemplars, and that their attraction to average faces is a reflection of this more general attraction. We tested whether a general preference for familiar stimuli can account for the attractiveness of averageness. This account was not supported for dogs or birds, but could not be ruled out for watches.

Note: Article Halberstadt J, Univ Otago, Dept Psychol, POB 56, Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND


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