Apparently this even explains why we like emoticons so much…
Scientists have been putting their brains to use to work out which kinds of women’s faces men are most attracted to, and apparently it’s the simple, plainer faces that men regard as beautiful.
The findings published by the Royal Society of Open Science reveal that men who looked at pictures of women with no distinguishing features, so ‘simpler’ faces with less going on, processed the images more quickly than other types of faces, therefore finding them the most attractive.
It could be why men are so drawn to women who could be described as the ‘girl next door’.
‘This is a very interesting effect,’ says University of Queensland School of psychology Professor Bill von Hippel.
‘The interesting point this paper is making is that faces that are easy to process are perceived as more attractive. That raises the possibility that symmetrical faces, faces without unusual features, are perceived as attractive partially because they’re processed more easily.
‘If so, then this effect should be largely independent of gender — women should show the same preference for easily processed faces that men do.’
Our love for the simple isn’t because we’re basic, simple creatures, it’s actually down to the fact that our brains are so highly evolved that they have become super efficient at processing details.
‘There is a large literature on what is known as “perceptual fluency”. Perceptual fluency refers to how easy something is to process — how easily a person can figure out what they’re looking at,’ Prof von Hippel says. ‘We tend to like things that are perceived more fluently.’
This explains why simple logos such as the Nike swoosh become so iconic, and why we love, um, emojis so much…
‘Think about an emoticon,’ continues Prof van Hippel. ‘You have two dots and a curved line that immediately everyone processes as a smile. It’s sparse, it’s plain, it’s familiar, and it’s easy to understand.’
Well our favourite happens to be the unicorn one, which really is a thing of beauty but with a lot going on.
So does this mean we need to ditch the lipstick and contouring kits if we want to find a mate? According to the Prof, no. We’re confused but listening…
‘My guess is lips and cheeks and eyes shaped in a prototypically attractive fashion are very easily processed themselves. So if contouring or lipstick makes it a more prototypical face, I’d imagine that meets the definition of “simple”.’
Well there you have it. If you want to be perceived as ‘beautiful’ contour your face into an emoji. (We’re pretty sure that’s what he’s saying…)