Reason Why Beauty Perceptions Vary For Everyone

A new study reveals why certain people have specific types. Turns out an individual’s perception of beauty or attractiveness results from a culmination of his or her own experiences.


According to Laura Germine, the lead author of the study, scientific examinations about the perception of beauty have historically been limited. In an attempt to shed more light on the topic, researchers conducted a series of test, the results of which are now published in the journal Current Biology.

In the first phase of study, 35,000 people were asked to rate faces for attractiveness using the website Following this examination, 547 sets of identical twins and 214 sets of fraternal twins, selected from the Australian Twin Registry, were gathered and told to rate 98 male faces and 102 female faces, also for attractiveness. The resulting data allowed researchers to come up with “individual preference scores,” or the measure of how much each participant’s ratings differed from the average ratings of all people taking part in the study.

The test, researchers hoped, would provide insight into the effects of nature versus nurture on the perception of beauty. If the attraction is, in fact, influenced by genes, the identical twins should be more similar to each other in regard to who they found more attractive. By contrast, if the family environment is a highly influential factor, fraternal twins should be more similar in nature.

According to study author Jeremy Wilmer, neither seemed to be the case, “…we found that even though identical twins share all of their genes and their family environment they were really, really different from each other in their facial aesthetic preferences.”

What does this ultimately tell us? The data suggest that personal experiences most likely play the biggest role in molding our perceptions of beauty. Because these experiences are unique to every person, what traits we find attractive can drastically vary from person to person. Although the study authors did not mention exactly what kind of personal experiences are most influential, they did offer some scientific theories:

Prior research has suggested that a face paired with positive information can appear more attractive. As such, “faces that are similar to it also look more attractive and vice versa,” she states.

“…you go through life and you form relationships and have friends and people you have a more positive relationship with, you may come to find their face characteristics more attractive, and then other people who look similar to them are then more attractive to you…Exposure to certain faces makes them seem more attractive,” she adds.