Introduction: An attractive facial appearance is considered nowadays to be a decisive factor in establishing successful interactions between humans. In relation to this topic, scientific literature states that some of the facial features have more impact then others, and important authors revealed that certain proportions between different anthropometrical landmarks are mandatory for an attractive facial appearance.
Aim: Our study aims to assess if certain facial features count differently in people's opinion while assessing facial attractiveness in correlation with factors such as age, gender, specific training and culture.
Material and methods: A 5-item multiple choice illustrated questionnaire was presented to 236 dental students. The Photoshop CS3 software was used in order to obtain the sets of images for the illustrated questions. The original image was handpicked from the internet by a panel of young dentists from a series of 15 pictures of people considered to have attractive faces. For each of the questions, the images presented were simulating deviations from the ideally symmetric and proportionate face. The sets of images consisted in multiple variations of deviations mixed with the original photo. Junior and sophomore year students from our dental medical school, having different nationalities were required to participate in our questionnaire. Simple descriptive statistics were used to interpret the data.
Results: Assessing the results obtained from the questionnaire it was observed that a majority of students considered as unattractive the overdevelopment of the lower third, while the initial image with perfect symmetry and proportion was considered as the most attractive by only 38.9% of the subjects. Likewise, regarding the symmetry 36.86% considered unattractive the canting of the inter-commissural line. The interviewed subjects considered that for a face to be attractive it needs to have harmonious proportions between the different facial elements.
Conclusions: Considering an evaluation of facial attractiveness it is important to keep in mind that such assessment is subjective and influenced by multiple factors, among which the most important are cultural background and specific training.
Keywords: facial aesthetics; image morphing; perception; proportion; symmetry.