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Getting Serious

Langlois, J.H., & Ritter, J.M., Roggman, L.A., Vaughn, L.S. (1991). Facial diversity and infant preferences for attractive faces. Developmental Psychology, 27 (1), 79-84.

This article examined infant preferences for attractive faces. This is an interesting study and relates to our project because we want to study whether the perception of beauty changes with age. Infant preferences were determined using a visual preference paradigm. Interestingly, infants preferred the same faces that adults preferred and considered attractive. This study suggests that perceptions of beauty remain stable throughout one’s life time.

Rhodes, G., & Proffitt, F., Grady, J.M., Sumich, A. (1998). Facial symmetry and the perception of beauty.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 5 (4), 659-669.

This article discusses a study done to determine if specific facial features are considered more attractive than others, specifically if “facial symmetry” affects people’s perceptions of facial attractiveness. Researchers found that facial symmetry is considered more attractive; perfectly symmetric faces were preferred to les symmetric versions of the same face. Also, when people were asked to decide which faces were most appealing for a potential life partner, again, the symmetrical faces were chosen. This study pertains to our study because we want to find trends and try to define what beauty is, and what is considered beautiful. This study suggests that one feature that causes beauty is facial symmetry.

METHODOLOGY: In order to study society’s perception of beauty, we will first begin by randomly selecting our participants, to represent society as accurately as possible. We will randomly ask some Queens College students to participate, we will randomly stop people that we see on the street, we will ask neighbors etc. We will try our best to get a diverse population different in age, gender, culture etc. We will provide participants with a questionnaire, will some multiple choice and some open ended questions, where participants will try to best explain their perception of what is beautiful. Then, we will provide participants with pictures and conduct another open ended interview. Participants will rate the pictures in terms of beauty, and explain to the researcher the reasons behind their preferences. The pictures will serve to determine consistencies, or inconsistencies, with the responses from the questionnaire. The researchers will then compile all the information and look for consistencies and trends in preferences and responses, and see if the trends differ with participants’ age or gender.

ETHICS: Being that we will be using pictures that we attained, either from the internet or magazines, we will make sure that any picture we use is properly cited, and that we had permission to use them. Also, we will be conducting interviews; therefore before participants agree to participate, we will clearly explain to them what they will be required to do, and how these tasks will benefit our study. We will assure participants that they have the right to withdraw from the study at any moment they chose, without being penalized and for any reason. We will make sure to protect the privacy of participants by changing names, or excluding details that may hint to the identity of the participant.

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