Beauty and the Brain

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Each year, billions of dollars are spent on cosmetics, facial firming, bacterial injections, double eyelid surgery, and the list goes on. All in the name of beauty. But, what is beauty? What defines it? Is there a universal beauty? Can it be obtained?

According to BBC, our perception of beauty begins in the womb. Studies show that babies have a tendency to look the longest at faces with smooth skin, round eyes, plump lips, and symmetry. In fact, BBC reports that our DNA is written to produce symmetry, yet factors such as environment produces asymmetry. Universally, these characteristics represent youth and fertility. Our faces are "an advertising hoarding which provide a potential mate with information about health, fertility and appropriateness as a partner" 1. Men look for young and healthy faces, translating to mates that are youthful with big eyes and plump lips 1. Whereas, females look for mates with the most testosterone, indicating fertility and strength. Bony protrusions such as the nose, cheek bones, brows and jaw indicate a potential for healthier children 1.

With the birth of the Golden Ratio, by Dr. Stephen Marquardt, dreams of achieving beauty have been made possible 1. This mathematically generated ratio claims to be the "essence of facial beauty" 1. It explains that the majority of people are attracted to faces that conform to the 1:1.618 Golden Ratio 1. As the founder of Marquardt Beauty Analysis in California, Dr. Stephen Marquardt and his researchers have taken it upon themselves "to develop and provide information and technology into which to analyze and positively modify (ie. improve) human visual attractiveness" 2.

So, we know that we are programmed to be attracted to beautiful faces and many of us ...

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