17 Pages

Computer Graphic Studies of the Role of Facial Similarity in Judgements of Attractiveness

WithI.S. Penton-Voak, D.L. Perrett, J.W. Peirce

Cross-population studies indicate that facial attractiveness reflects features that indicate good genetic quality, reproductive potential, and the likelihood of pro-social parenting behaviours, not arbitrary cultural values. Some benefits of assortment may occur at the phenotypic level. For example, mating within local populations results in an assortative mating pattern that is beneficial as individuals avoid the costs of leaving the immediate environment to mate. Homozygosity may also prove disadvantageous for passive immune system resistance to parasites and pathogens that are generally best adapted to common proteins in the host population. Heterozygous individuals are more likely to carry rare alleles and may therefore possess more passive genetic resistance to pathogens. Lorenzian sexual imprinting during a critical sensitive period early in life seems a likely mechanism for establishing later mate preferences, including incest avoidance. D. F. Roberts and J. N. Spuhler review early research of spousal correlations from large-scale measurement studies of anthropometric characteristics.