Changing Planet

Visualizing the Psychology of Attraction


Asking “how do we capture attention,” this infographic from Iconic Displays makes a brief survey of the science of attraction.

In college, my friend and roommate worked on a research project in this area. At the time, he told me that much of attraction is about symmetry, with the underlying biological assumption that organisms with better symmetry are likely to have better genes.

My friend made composite faces of women and showed them to volunteer men, asking them to rate which ones they found the most attractive. In what may sound a bit disturbing, what he found was that the more a woman’s face approximated the structure of a young boy’s, the more men liked it.

One hypothesis he had was that what was really going on was selection toward youthfulness, which might be explained as more time for reproducing.

What do you find most attractive?


  • Ima Ryma

    I say as your plastic surgeon,
    Your face did need a lot of work,
    To get that look of a young ‘un,
    No more bags and wrinkles to lurk.
    You got a nip here, a tuck there,
    With youthfulness not just the aim,
    But get stuff on each sens’ry pair
    To stick aface, looking the same.
    Your face was a challenge galore.
    I tried hard to do my best job,
    But good look less and bad look more,
    Troubles just kept coming agob.

    I tried for symmetrically,
    But your face just flipped out – oopsie!

  • Disappointed reader

    This is not a news story. This is an anecdote from a guy’s college buddy. Hardly scientific. Nice graphic, though.

  • Disappointed reader

    This is not a news story. The NG text below the graphic is simply an anecdote about a guy’s college buddy with nothing scientific to back it up. (The graphic is nice, though.)

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