Fluctuating asymmetry and structural laterality: Divergent functions of patterns of facial asymmetry

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Highly symmetrical faces are frequently perceived as more attractive than less symmetrical faces. This has been attributed to fluctuating asymmetry being perceived as a sign of developmental instability. Some studies, however, have failed to find a relationship between facial asymmetry and actual health, casting doubt over this interpretation. Previous investigations, however, have failed to properly differentiate between fluctuating facial asymmetry and the systematic structural laterality seen in the human face. Patterns of facial laterality differ systematically between the sexes, as well as between individuals, and likely serve their own signaling purposes, unrelated to developmental stability. Across three studies, facial asymmetry was manipulated in a variety of ways and the resulting faces rated for attractiveness and trustworthiness. Judgements of both attractiveness and trustworthiness peaked when faces exhibited average levels of structural laterality and no fluctuating asymmetry.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2018
EventConference of the Australasian-Society-for-the-Study-of-Animal-Behaviour -
Duration: 01 Jan 2011 → …


ConferenceConference of the Australasian-Society-for-the-Study-of-Animal-Behaviour
Period01/01/11 → …


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