Averageness or symmetry: which is more important for facial attractiveness?

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2009 Jun;131(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Apr 25.


Effects of averageness and symmetry on the judgment of facial attractiveness were investigated using a generalized Procrustes method and multiple regression analyses. Participants (n=114) rated attractiveness of 96 photographs of faces with neutral expressions. Through a generalized Procrustes method, the faces and their mirror-reversed versions were represented as points on a hyperplane. Both averageness and symmetry of each individual were defined as distances on the plane. A multiple regression analysis was performed to examine the effect of symmetry and averageness for each gender. For male faces, both symmetry and averageness affected attractiveness ratings positively , and there was no difference between the effects of averageness and symmetry. On the other hand, for female faces only averageness affected attractiveness, whereas symmetry did not. However, these effects were not large.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Esthetics / psychology*
  • Face / anatomy & histology*
  • Facial Asymmetry / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult