Beauty – An Introduction
Beauty is commonly defined as a subjective quality of living things, which makes these objects pleasing to see. These objects could be humans, landscapes, sunsets and beautiful works of art. Beauty, with aesthetic sense and art, is probably the most important theme of aesthetics, another of the major branches of psychology. Philosophy generally ascribes the meaning of beauty to some abstract object that can be studied theoretically, making it an empirical study. The word beauty has many other meanings but here it is used to describe a quality that we all tend to enjoy in our surroundings.
People tend to make aesthetic judgments according to a number of features of a face. While most aesthetic judgments are not consciously controlled, people’s responses to facial expressions and other physical cues are altered by what they see. This alters the way the brain regions responsible for processing visual information are activated. The results of these changes in brain regions can have serious consequences in how we perceive beauty.
In most cases, aesthetic judgment of faces involves the recognition of a specific face or body part. However, the brain areas responsible for emotional memory and spatial orientation also play a vital role in beauty perception. For instance, the human brain areas that are involved in storing and retrieving memory are directly linked to beauty in human bodies. In this case, a beautiful face or body part is judged as being more attractive than another.
Judging beauty using the mirror is one of the easiest ways of judging physical attractiveness. However, facial appearance must be considered in relation to the individual’s real, physical features. Some of these features are not easily detected in the naked eye, including the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, neck, arms, legs and chin. When judging beauty in these regions, facial expressions are crucial. Emotions expressed through facial expressions have been found to affect how facial judgments of beauty are formed.
Beauty assessment tests can be designed to specifically ask about these areas. A test for evaluating mental attractiveness would include a mental attractiveness quiz on a standard questionnaire. Alternatively, a questionnaire could include a series of photographs of highly attractive faces. A questionnaire could also evaluate attractiveness judgments for reproductive attributes, such as body size and breast size, as well as other non-covariant characteristics of attractive faces.
When making comparisons between photographs of highly and less attractive people, remember to think about the effects of clothing on attractiveness. Clothing size and color play a part in creating the illusion of youth and change in appearance. Similarly, clothing style can influence an actor’s or actress’ perceived age and beauty. Actors who are very good looking but present aged skin may seem young on the outside, but may appear older on the inside due to their wardrobe choices.