The idea of “face shape” may have evolved from a common anthropological practice to help people perceive others more favorably, according to a new study.
The research, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, is based on the work of a team led by Emory University psychologist J. Michael Miller.
The team analyzed the facial expressions of more than 2,500 participants who underwent an online questionnaire to gauge their attractiveness to strangers.
Participants were asked to rate the faces of men and women in the photo lineup and to rate their attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10.
The results revealed that men tend to show a more “flattering” facial expression and women tend to exhibit more “subtlety” and “relaxed” facial expressions.
This means that if you look a little bit more “shallow” and have a more relaxed expression, you’re likely to be perceived as more attractive.
Miller says that he believes this is because men and females are biologically wired to look at faces differently and that there are physiological differences between the two species.
He says the study suggests that people tend to perceive their facial expressions as more natural and “more realistic” than they would in the absence of facial expressions, which is why we might unconsciously choose to “hide” the “surrounding features” of our faces to be more flattering.
In the past, this has meant that people have been criticized for not wearing makeup and for being overly confident.
Miller notes that, despite these criticisms, he thinks that we may be subconsciously aware of how our facial expressions affect our appearance and we may even consciously choose to hide them.
“This is the first study to show that facial expressions can be consciously perceived, and they’re actually a physiological correlate of a person’s attractiveness,” Miller says.
“I think the idea that our facial facial expressions are not just a result of genetics, but actually a function of biology is really fascinating.”
“It is also really interesting that the facial expression of people with different facial expressions is very, very similar, because facial expressions tend to have a certain effect on how we perceive people,” he adds.
“It’s really surprising.”
The researchers analyzed the faces from more than 1,000 photos that were submitted to the online survey, which included both male and female faces.
Miller and his colleagues then examined the facial traits of those who had an attractive facial expression as well as those who showed a neutral expression.
They also looked at the relationship between attractiveness and the people’s age, gender and socioeconomic status.
The study found that people with a more flatter face are perceived to be “more attractive” than people with more relaxed or subtle facial expressions; women tend toward more subtle expressions; and men tend toward a more neutral expression than women.
“We found that there’s a very strong relationship between the facial appearance of a face and its perceived attractiveness,” he says.
“If a face is flatter, then the more flaccid the face, the more attractive it is to people, and if the face is neutral, the less flaccidonious it is, the closer a person is perceived to the average person.”
The study also revealed that the effect of attractiveness on attractiveness can be “subverted,” meaning that the attractiveness of a facial expression is lessened by a person with an “obvious” face trait such as a high forehead.
This is because the facial features that people show when they’re more florid are more obvious to other people.
The researchers say that their results also indicate that there is a relationship between a person and the appearance of his or her face.
“It’s a kind of ‘facial-facial relationship’ that can be manipulated in subtle ways to give people an illusion of a certain ‘look’ or ‘personality,'” Miller says, noting that “this may be a fundamental mechanism that allows us to understand how our culture affects the appearance and personality of people in society.”