Understanding beauty

True "facial beauty" evokes in the perceiver emotional responses of pleasure

and a high degree of attraction.

Numerous studies have suggested that the perception of beauty is innate.

Even newborns and infants were, in fact, shown to prefer faces commonly perceived as attractive.

In support of our survival and evolution, we are attracted to beautiful traits that project health and robust reproductive abilities. The same features across different cultures represent, in fact, the primary signs of attractiveness - during evolution, humans have universally shown to consider certain features attractive because they were displayed by healthy individuals.

Extensive research has also suggested that the perception of beauty is universal across races and cultures. Regardless of their background, most individuals have shown to have similar subjective ideas on what constitutes an attractive face.

 

It is, however, unclear what the objective elements that determine the attractiveness of one face over another are. It has been alleged that a clue may be in the fact that processing attractiveness takes milliseconds – “we look with our eyes, but we see with our brains”.

Are our brains acting like computers, mathematically assessing beauty; 

Leonardo Da Vinci insisted that all things considered beautiful followed a mathematical rationale, centred on specific ratios known as the “Divine Proportion” or “Golden Ratio”.

 

Across the centuries, many of the world’s greatest intellectual minds, including Galileo, Michelangelo, and Einstein, were fascinated by the fact that natural beauty appeared dependent on this divine ratio. The golden ratio was established to be a mathematical ratio of 1.618:1.

The number 1.618 is called Phi (Φ) after the architect Phidias, one of the greatest of all classical Greek sculptors. Phi proportions are found all over the faces which are universally considered as beautiful and the ideal facial proportions can be obtained with the aid of a “golden mean calibre”, a tool used to dynamically measure the Phi ratio.

It is possible to pursue a Phi beauty, and youth complements it

 - but pursuing youth does not necessarily create beauty.

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