Now Reading
What is beauty?

What is beauty?

Psychology Hour
Dr. Leli

What is beauty?

Above all, the perception of harmony, of pleasant sensations that come from a certain stimulus, such as a work of art, an object, an animal, a person. The emotion that follows the perception of beauty is extremely positive and for this reason there is a search and attention, conscious and unconscious, of everyone towards everything that seems beautiful to us, because it causes an immediate feeling of joy and fulfillment. Beauty can be subjective and objective. It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that is, a subjective beauty, which means that it is not the object itself that is beautiful, but the idea of ​​beauty that is stimulated in the mind of the observer. This idea of ​​beauty is largely subjective and depends not only on one’s personality, but also on experiences, knowledge, aspirations, prejudices. But there is undoubtedly an objective beauty, often widely shared, which is based on a concept of harmony, which proposes some particular aspects.

Therefore, beauty is determined by many factors, which can play a role in determining attractiveness. Some of these are the way a person dresses, how they behave, which largely depend on their will and therefore their personal style, but can also contribute to independent factors of will, such as social status and wealth, ethnicity, size and body shape. The brain, among many other functions, also has the role of revealing beauty. Thus, the positive signals reach our brain long before the person in front of us is consciously considered attractive. Many researchers have tried to define the objective concept of human beauty and have come to the conclusion that it is about the relationship between the eyes, the mouth and the edge of the face. The most attractive female faces were considered to be those where the vertical distance between the eyes and the mouth was about 36% of the face length, and the horizontal distance between the eyes was 46% of the face width. An attractive man is a person with quite prominent cheekbones, thick eyebrows and a relatively elongated face. Also, prominent cheekbones, large eyes, small nose, high forehead, smooth skin and a general youthful or even childish appearance add charm to women, according to the evaluations of men. When we appreciate a person’s face, we unconsciously look for asymmetry. No two faces are identical, and no two halves of the same face are completely alike. Countless small variables make the faces a little asymmetrical. For example, a slightly larger chin on one half of the face, a slightly lower eye than the other, a slightly more protruding cheekbone, a dimple on one cheek, etc. Some asymmetries are common in the population, for example the left side of many people’s faces is slightly larger than the right side. Other asymmetries occur instead when one’s genetic program is disrupted during development. Several studies have found that when men and women are asked to compare more or less symmetrical versions of faces, those with very weak asymmetry have a significantly higher score when it comes to appreciating beauty, sensuality and health values ​​and are perceived as more desirable when considering potential partners (Rhodes, Proffitt, Grady, & Sumich, 1998; Shackelford and Larsen, 1997). Thus, the most symmetrical face can be perceived as a sign of good health. According to researchers, the perception of beauty on a human face is the result of a cognitive process, through which individuals instinctively measure the distances we talked about above and compare them with the ideal ratio of width and length. For example, it is much easier to find beauty in a face painted by Botticelli than by Picasso. But over the centuries, even the canons of beauty have changed a lot. As for the female body, in the past women with full shapes were appreciated, who were portrayed by famous painters. They were considered attractive and desirable, as that semi-obesity was, in the past, a sign of good health, fertility and comfort. Beauty preferences also vary by ethnicity. For example, the aesthetic preferences of a group of Brazilian subjects were significantly different from those of other subjects living in other parts of the world.

At all ages and in all walks of life, attractive people are viewed more favorably and treated better. Even teachers attribute more intelligence to the most beautiful pupils or students, the most attractive adults are paid more for their work and they are also more successful in their private life in terms of their relationship. In court, juries are less likely to find guilty conduct in a handsome person and, if so, demand more lenient sentences when they do so. Many people need to always feel attractive, it is a real psychological pressure, which hides the fear of being rejected by others. What motivates people to seek aesthetic approval? They want to be physically liked because they feel appreciated and not criticized by others. In addition, the desire to resemble the imposed models of fashion, advertising and showbiz is satisfied, even if it can put objective limits on one’s development potential, undermining self-esteem and making the person live in a state of dissatisfaction. as soon as it deviates from the dominant aesthetic standards (due to age, accidents, lack of weight control, surgery, etc.). In addition, these aspiring models are almost always unattainable, even for the most physically gifted, because they are valued for the skillful use of stage lights, makeup, photo retouching, etc.

See Also

Preferences over beauty are acquired mainly through life experience. the concept of beauty is already present in childhood. Six-month-old babies prefer to look at the attractive expressions of adults. In general, men’s preferences tend to be more pronounced than beauty. Men can give more importance to physical beauty when it comes to choosing a partner, while women can consider other characteristics, such as strength and social status. Women who consider themselves more attractive also want men of more pronounced beauty. However, the menstrual cycle changes feminine tastes, the preference for masculine beauty increases dramatically during the ovulation period, when a woman is more fertile and the possibility of conception is greater. A key trick for beauty is sleep. A group of researchers conducted an experiment in which observers assessed the attractiveness (as well as health) of participants, who were photographed both after a period of sleep deprivation and after a good night’s sleep (Axelsson, 2010). Not surprisingly, sleep deprived people were found to be significantly less attractive than those who rested well. In addition, people who slept less were considered less healthy.

Beauty is now at hand, with the development of cosmetic surgery, a normal practice to enhance or maintain beauty. Women’s magazines usually feature two ideal candidates for cosmetic surgery: the insecure, unhappy, lonely woman who is trying to improve her self-confidence and self-esteem, and the successful, attractive, self-confident woman with a high level of self-esteem. of itself, which uses cosmetic surgery to always remain beautiful. After all, it is a society based on image, health, the ability to compete. When a person feels ugly, he feels very bad about himself and has difficulties in social relationships. Thus, a person dissatisfied with the way he looks can suffer a lot, can be isolated from the social group, can feel despised or rejected. The person who considers himself ugly feels that he is incapable of achieving the success that the media presents and promises, he feels like a prisoner and hostage of a body that he does not love and that has not proved useful for achieving the much desired social affirmation. Beyond improving and maintaining beauty through cosmetic surgery, positivity and a smile are highly valued. In fact, smiling people produce extra activity in the cortex compared to those with neutral expressions. Therefore, as a conclusion, I can recommend a good sleep hygiene, a healthy lifestyle, serenity and positive emotions. All this contributes to the improvement of beauty.