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Facial Esthetics:
Chapter 2

Concepts & Controversies




Theory of facial attractiveness and current controversies

Throughout human history, facial attractiveness has been pursuit for more than 5,000 years
(Peck & Peck, 1970; Vegter & Hage, 2000)
. How to define the facial attractiveness has been attempted for
thousand years. The scientific studies of facial beauty, in terms of neoclassic canons, golden ratio,

symmetry, averageness, facial anthropology, 2D or 3D cephalometry, youthfulness, sexual
dimorphism have been prevailed over 2,000 papers being published in recent 3 decades (Bashour,
2006a)
.

Remarkably, the appreciation of facial attractiveness could be traced as young as 3 to 4

months old infantsl (Langlois et al., 1987; Quinn, Kelly, Lee, Pascalis, & Slater, 2008; Rubenstein, Kalakanis, & Langlois, 1999; Samuels,
Butterworth, Roberts, Graupner, & Hole, 2013)
. Infants as young as 3 to 4 months of age could gaze significantly
longer for an attractive face projecting in front of them on a screen. It is unlikely that a 3 to 4

months infant is already influenced by culture or environments. This inherent ability to appreciate
facial attractiveness is not affected by education, social class, race, gender, as indicated by
meta-analysis published by Langlois et al and Rhodes (Langlois et al., 2000; Rhodes, 2006) . The facial
attractiveness has been related to certain qualities (e.g., symmetry, youthfulness, averageness,
sexual dimorphism, etc.) or certain quantities (e.g. neoclassic canons, gold ratio or Marquart mask,

esthetic lines, 2D or 3D cephalometric measurement, etc.).


Qualification of facial attractiveness

Psychologists especially, evolutionary psychology have dominated the study of facial
attractiveness for the last three decades. Although a face could be identify as attractive or
unattractive, it is extremely difficult to isolate a specific feature that determine the facial
attractiveness (Little, Jones, & DeBruine, 2011) . There are, however, several aspects of “quality” that can be

associated with facial attractiveness, such as symmetry, youthfulness, averageness… etc. (Rhodes, 2006) .




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