Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and past experiences are more related to attraction than genes, in a sense that they would influence your taste in physical characteristics in others. It’s not coded in your DNA, determined by your social status, money or where you grew up.
It has been avidly suggested in the past that symmetrical faces are generally attractive and pleasant to look at. However, everything else does not come naturally, and it’s not a combination of genetic traits that decide who a person finds attractive. If genes were the final judges, then identical twin had to display exceptional chances of fancying the same people.
Researchers tested the preferences of 547 pairs of identical twins, and a 214 pairs of fraternal twins of the same sex. Participants were given a number of 200 faces to rate in terms of attractiveness. It helped the team of researchers understand how much of an influence the environment and genes have in affecting a person’s perception of beauty.
According to Laura Germine from Harvard University, there are some aspects that are universally attractive, such as the aforementioned symmetry, but “people do have different types”, and this variation is found even among twins.
The chance of finding the same person attractive as another (any other person) is of 50%, which is essentially a hit-or-miss sort of situation. They found that the unique quality about a person’s preference is not stemmed into their DNA. Instead, it’s rooted in past personal experiences, in faces we have seen and are embedded into our minds as the definition of beauty.
These factors are subtle though. Given that most identical twins did not have more remarkable results among each other, it was concluded that the environment might have a bigger role than genes. However, one of the even more influential causes remains in each individual’s experience.
Whether it’s from the magazines, social interactions, or even the first boyfriend or girlfriend, they are what shapes a person’s opinions on the matter of attractiveness. There are certain defining face characteristics and qualities that remain very unique in our minds, and it affects our tastes later on.
According to the researchers, this will provide future studies with a “novel window into the evolution and architecture of the social brain”. Now it remains to be seen precisely what parts of our environment and what experiences define our preferences, and serve to shape our tastes. Others are the topic of studies as well, such as our taste in music, art or even pets.
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