Do you like bearded men?
The standards of beauty in society change over time – this is a well-known fact. But our own ideas about the attractive appearance of a particular person do not remain unchanged – sometimes even for a few minutes. What influences our perception of the beauty of others so much? You won’t believe it, but scientists confirm that dating sites and mobile apps are to blame.
I used to like clean-shaven men’s faces. But then the beard came into fashion, and my preferences began to change.
Seeing beards of various sizes everywhere, I began to realize that there was something to it. And, obviously, there was more than one.
“I find bearded men attractive. It used to be unimportant, but now half of my friends wear a beard, ” said one of the participants in the survey conducted by the Guardian newspaper.
It is obvious that millennia of natural selection have forced us to give preference to certain features of appearance. For example, we find symmetrical faces more attractive-probably because they indicate healthy human genes.
We know that the standards of beauty change over time, but it does not happen very quickly – it is influenced by both the media and popular culture.
And although we understand that everyone’s tastes are different, many are convinced that their ideal of good looks remains unchanged throughout their lives.
It turns out, however, that we change our views on beauty much more often – not even for years or months, but sometimes just for a few minutes.
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“Beauty, indeed, is still in the eyes of the beholder. But as our current research shows, the viewer is constantly changing, ” says Haiyan Yang, an associate professor at the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University.
Young leads a study that found that our perception and appreciation of beauty can change under the influence of other people’s opinions.
“It can be argued that in the age of the Internet, people’s perceptions of beauty began to change much faster than at any time in history.”
Perhaps the reason for this fickleness is in the thousands of photos that the Internet and, in particular, online dating services bombard us with every day.
Interestingly, recent research has shown that our perceptions of attractiveness are not only subject to frequent changes, but also depend on which faces we just looked at.
On websites or in mobile dating apps, this, of course, happens all the time and in a split second.
In one study conducted at the University of Sydney, women rated the attractiveness of 60 men whose images appeared in front of them on the screen for just a third of a second.
The researchers found that participants tended to rate the next face as attractive if they also liked the previous one.
The same thing happened on the contrary: if the person in the previous photo seemed to them unsympathetic, they were more likely to evaluate the next image negatively.
It seemed that the perception of beauty in the participants of the experiment changes with each new face.
This phenomenon is explained by the way our brain processes new information.
“Our brains are not able to process all the information we see quickly, and therefore, where possible, they simplify their work by drawing on previous visual experience,” explains Jessica Taubert, author of the study, which is being conducted by the University of Sydney.
The simplification that the brain uses in such a situation is called serial addiction.
We expect that the physical attributes of an object do not change in an instant. That is, when you, for example, looked at a cup of coffee, and then looked away, you are sure that it will look exactly the same when you look at it again..
The same thing happens when we look at photos of people on dating sites. When we look from one profile to another, we give in to the illusion.
Our brain simply does not have time to analyze the next photo as new information and perceives the new face in the same way as it evaluated the previous one.
“The fact that the brain tries to adapt quickly to the visual environment is not new. But what is new is the speed at which this environment is changing, ” says Teresa Pegors, co-author of the study.
“Beauty, thus, becomes a changeable category, causing an irrepressible desire to constantly choose something new. Which may also be the reason why it’s increasingly difficult for us to be happy with one partner for a long time.”
The effect of a cursory glance.
If you notice that you like a lot more people on the Internet than in real life, the reason may be the speed with which you view the pages of social networks.
Researchers have found that we find people attractive when we look at them in passing, rather than when we look at them closely.
Attractiveness is a valuable parameter, because this person can be our potential partner. Therefore, the brain, not having enough information, chooses an important option for itself – greater attractiveness.
“If you think someone is more beautiful than he or she is, it’s simple-you can look at them more closely from the second time [and either make sure that you like the person, or be disappointed],” explains David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University and co-author of the study.
“But if you accidentally do not notice, underestimate the attractiveness of a particular person, you risk missing the chance to establish a relationship with him,” he adds.
When you quickly browse through profiles on a dating site, the “quick glance effect” is triggered.