We’ve all gone gaga for a few not-so-hot dates under the influence of a potent martini. Turns out, there’s a scientific reason for “beer goggles.”
In this study, sixty-five college students, some sober and others three sheets to the wind (voluntarily, of course), rated a series of photographs for attractiveness and symmetry. Not surprisingly, a few beers made students more generous with their attraction ratings.
Why? Intoxicated students were less able to identify symmetry, so they interpreted asymmetrical faces to be more symmetrical (and thus more attractive) than they really were.
Maybe symmetry-blindness is to blame for those hook-ups that don’t look so good in a less-forgiving light.
Facial symmetry is attractive because it’s nature’s way of showing our genetic fitness, or our ability to resist developmental stressors. We actually can’t see symmetry very well (unless we’re shown extreme examples), so our preference is mostly unconscious. Scientists believe that we prefer symmetrical mates because they’re likely to pass on good genes to our kids. Still, don’t lose sleep over your symmetry—none of us are perfectly symmetric!
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