April 12, 2008

Computer ratings of facial attractiveness as good as human

Very related: Computer taught to recognize female attractiveness.

Perception. 2008;37(1):126-42.
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Computational models of facial attractiveness judgments.

Bronstad PM, Langlois JH, Russell R.

We designed two computational models to replicate human facial attractiveness ratings. The primary model used partial least squares (PLS) to identify image factors associated with facial attractiveness from facial images and attractiveness ratings of those images. For comparison we also made a model similar to previous models of facial attractiveness, in that it used manually derived measurements between features as inputs, though we took the additional step of dimensionality reduction via principal component analysis (PCA) and weighting of PCA dimensions via a perceptron. Strikingly, both models produced estimates of facial attractiveness that were indistinguishable from human ratings. Because PLS extracts a small number of image factors from the facial images that covary with attractiveness ratings of the images, it is possible to determine the information used by the model. The image factors that the model discovered correspond to two of the main contemporary hypotheses of averageness judgments: facial attractiveness and sexual dimorphism. In contrast, facial symmetry was not important to the model, and an explicit feature-based measurement of symmetry was not correlated with human judgments of facial attractiveness. This provides novel evidence for the importance of averageness and sexual dimorphism, but not symmetry, in human judgments of facial attractiveness.

2 comments:

Victor said...

There is no such thing as an attractive or unattractive face. There are many reasons for this, primarily that our perception of faces depends on a wide array of factors, such as 1. distance, lighting, use of makeup, facial hair, hair coloring, hair style, expression, social context, etc. and 2. the prior conditioning of the viewer, social expectations, the relationship to the viewer, the emotional state of the viewer, etc., etc.

What is really being studied in this research are the many and various effects of photography, which can, in the hands of a professional, make just about anyone look either "attractive" or "unattractive."

Ulrich Renz said...

Victor,
sorry for interfering with your believes, but HUNDREDS of studies show that people DO share common attractiveness standards. That doesn't mean that we all have exactly the same sense of beauty - for the human face one half of our attractiveness judgement is idiosyncratic/subjective or depending on context variables, but the other half is shared within the population. There is NO SINGLE piece of evidence in the attractiveness research literature backing your claim that beauty is purely subjective.