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Perception and Deception: Human Beauty and the Brain

Retired SVP Basic Science Research, Estée Lauder Co., Merrick, NY 11566, USA
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 34;
Received: 14 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Neurosciences)
Human physical characteristics and their perception by the brain are under pressure by natural selection to optimize reproductive success. Men and women have different strategies to appear attractive and have different interests in identifying beauty in people. Nevertheless, men and women from all cultures agree on who is and who is not attractive, and throughout the world attractive people show greater acquisition of resources and greater reproductive success than others. The brain employs at least three modules, composed of interconnected brain regions, to judge facial attractiveness: one for identification, one for interpretation and one for valuing. Key elements that go into the judgment are age and health, as well as symmetry, averageness, face and body proportions, facial color and texture. These elements are all Costly Signals of reproductive fitness because they are difficult to fake. However, people deceive others using tricks such as coloring hair, cosmetics and clothing styles, while at the same time they also focus on detecting fakes. People may also deceive themselves, especially about their own attractiveness, and use self-signally actions to demonstrate to themselves their own true value. The neuroscience of beauty is best understood by considering the evolutionary pressures to maximize reproductive fitness. View Full-Text
Keywords: facial beauty; attractiveness; evolutionary biology; costly signals; cosmetics; deception; self-signaling facial beauty; attractiveness; evolutionary biology; costly signals; cosmetics; deception; self-signaling
MDPI and ACS Style

Yarosh, D.B. Perception and Deception: Human Beauty and the Brain. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 34.

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