Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder but Ugliness Culturally Universal? Facial Preferences of Polish and Yali (Papua) People
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Previous studies suggest that human facial attractiveness is culturally universal. As they were conducted among Western populations and populations strongly influenced by the Western culture, it is not obvious if the preferences would also be the same in populations isolated from this culture. It is also not certain if the agreement would be the same in the case of attractive and unattractive faces. In the presented study participated 103 people from the Yali tribe (Papua, Indonesia) and 99 Poles. Their task was to choose the most attractive and unattractive face of the opposite sex from a set of 4 pictures (one attractive, one unattractive and two average faces of Polish people chosen in a pre-test). We showed significant cross-cultural differences in attractiveness preferences and similarities in choices of unattractive faces. We speculate that across cultures unattractiveness could be assessed on the basis of the same cues to health and biological quality. Attractiveness criteria seem to be more complex, specific to each population, and dependent on the population’s ecological conditions and morphological characteristics.
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