According to a paper published in Current Biology, scientists say that our beauty preferences may be coded in our genes, but personal experiences ultimately determine our final opinion. In this study researchers wanted to pay more attention to the factors that influence face atractiveness disagreements manifested among friends and family opinions. 

Researchers say that past studies were focused on universal features of attraction such as face symmetry. Image:

The Study

First, they considered the face preferences of 35,000 people that used the website TestMyBrain. After that, they tested the preferences of 547 pairs of identical twins and 214 pairs of same-sex non-identical twins, making them rate their beauty-score on 200 faces, according to the press release.

“This fits with the common intuition that on the one hand, fashion models can make a fortune with their good looks, while on the other hand, friends can endlessly debate about who is attractive and who is not”, reads in the press release.

The results of twins comparison revealed that although genes have an important role on beauty preferences, the existence of a “type” is due to very personal experiences. Even with the exact same DNA, the exact same brothers chose differently.

The study also revealed that those preferences have nothing to do with environmental factors like where do you live, or where do you went to school. It has to do with the faces you’ve seen, the social interactions and your first love. Exposure plays a big role on deciding whether someone is attractive or not, hence the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

“The types of environments that are important are not those that are shared by those who grow up in the same family, but are much more subtle and individual, potentially including things such as one’s unique, highly personal experiences with friends or peers, as well as social and popular media,”said Laura Germine of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, co-led author of the study, according to the press release. 

Scientists believe this study  “provides a novel window into the evolution and architecture of the social brain.” Further studies should look at which aspects mold out preferences on music, art, or pets, and where do those aspects came from.

Source: Science Daily