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Does your face really make a difference? What is it?

Look at my profile picture now.
What if I did have one?
Does my picture affect how you respond to me?
Does it affect how seriously you take me?
Can my anonymity generate any real respect?
Does it help put more emphasis on what I say?
If I had a picture now, would you judge me by it?
Would you take me as insincere?
Is it the way you smile?
Is it where you are that tells me who you are?

Tell me your thoughts. Is it that much of a waste to just wonder?


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    Jan 14 2012: We are genetically inclined to find symmetrical faces beautiful and subconsciously treat them likewise. Damn biology. :)
    • Jan 15 2012: Brittney,

      Any idea why it is that way?

      Is it just easier (and therefore preferable) for our brains to interpret a symmetrical image, or is it something more nuanced than that? Perhaps it fulfills a metaphysical need (if you think this way) of balance?

      Your thoughts?

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        Jan 16 2012: Your conjecture is part of the reason, in Paul Bloom's book, How Pleasure Works he goes in depth about why we as people prefer such faces and that even babies prefer symmetrical faces. Another one of his conclusions is that symmetrical faces indicate health and youth which is what we seek in mates perhaps as another facet of natural selection, because things like poor nutrition, parasites, and the ravages of time will eat away at our symmetry and thus be less attractive.
        • Jan 16 2012: Brittney,

          Bloom is hardly exhaustive on the topic. I actually found his analysis of 'averageness' to be more applicable to my line of questioning. On page 66, he states,

          "...average faces are in a literal sense easy on the eyes; they require less visual processing than non-average faces."

          I wish he would have gone into the particular neural activity associated with 'visual processing'. Do we prefer the composite because our 'visual processing' is similar to the process which produces composites? For example, when you think of your mother, do you see a reproduction of a single moment, or a composite of many images of her you have seen?

          Regardless, it is funny we prefer the composite to an actual face. I suppose it ties in to his idea that we prefer imagination to reality.


          Back to symmetry - have you read anything else on the topic?

          With a face we are obviously talking about vertical symmetry, but we are surely fascinated by other types as well, no? And can a face actually be perfectly symmetrical? Or are we (obviously) only talking about approximation? If that is the case then the actual happenings within our 'visual processing' are once again of the utmost import, and Bloom left us hanging on the subject (at least in the forty or so pages I have skimmed through).


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