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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Facial attractiveness is one of the most ubiquitous forms of beauty that people encounter and value. It is a unique category in visual aesthetics because of its deep biological foundation and essential significance for social interactions. This chapter gives an overview and discusses the rich history of facial attractiveness research from four perspectives. First, the face itself is discussed, asking what makes a face attractive, with reference to local features such as eye color and spatial configurations, and global characteristics like symmetry and averageness. Attention then turns to the face bearer, and a distinction is drawn between facial attractiveness and personal characteristics like mate quality, familiarity, and the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype. Next, the chapter examines the role of the observer, and how individual characteristics explain differences in taste and effects of facial attractiveness on perception and cognition. Finally, some inherent limitations to this research are addressed.

Keywords: facial attractiveness, face perception, evolutionary psychology, beauty, liking, facial features

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