Oh to be the prototype of the unattractive female face


Update: I struck me yesterday that these experiments in averageness are somewhat interesting in that they kind of approach the uncanny-valley from the other end. Normally we see people trying to make lifelike robots that end up totally freaking out our brains. In this case, these people are starting with human images and making them weirdly plastic looking.

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  1. Wait, what?

    ( for simplicity, I’m using “ugly” in place of “unattractive”, “pretty” for “attractive” – attractiveness is an arbitrary sliding scale, so average is going to go between pretty and ugly )

    1) We made ugly prettier and people liked it more than ugly.
    2) Surprisingly, we made pretty more ugly and people did NOT like “more ugly pretty” *
    3) People like a tan, even if it’s clearly fake.

    QED it’s not whether you’re pretty or ugly that determines if you’re pretty or ugly, it’s if you’ve gotten a tan lately! Come by one of our convenient tanning salons or try our new spray on tan in your very own home!

    Seriously, who was surprised that making pretty ugly was less attractive than the pretty they started with? I’ve reread this over and over and I’m completely lost as to why they moved on to coloring. Yes, it applies, but you didn’t do anything approaching scientific with it (which is unsurprising, since the previous results were horribly misinterpreted)

    Ugly got nicer bone definition and it looked better. Pretty got a chunkier looking chin/cheekbones and it looked worse. News at 11.

  2. I had to read it a couple of times too… What they did, though, was to blend an attractive face with the “average” face. In this case, they literally mean just that: they averaged 32 women’s faces to form one average face. The basic hypothesis is that averaging the human form produces one ideal human form and that people, in general, find “averageness” to be attractive. So to our ears hearing something like “he prototype of an attractive female face blended into the shape of the average female face by 50%” sounds like mixing pretty with ugly, they were working with the notion that they were mixing one type of pretty with another.

    “Averageness” is a thing! With its own Wikipedia article!

  3. Meh.

    That could’ve been disproven by simply having people rate the attractiveness of the average vs. the 30 beautifuls – 100:1 average would’ve been rated least attractive. It might be interesting to compare the attractiveness of the composite with the average, to apply the ‘uncanny valley’ factor to both images and perhaps remove it somewhat as a factor. I think all the advertising and airbrushing of late makes us less sensitive to such techniques, though.

    Be careful in calling out the uncanny valley – Shannon rips into me when I bring it up (she claims I pull it out too often) … I have a feeling there’s a nice pattern/rule of the internet/meme around the uncanny valley that we need to describe and document, for future generations.

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