Beauty is a highly relative concept that varies from place to place, changing with the times. Through scientific observation and study, researchers have been able to remove the regional influences of what beauty is.
According to the Royal Society Open Science recently published study, there is a commonality in what men around the globe find attractive.
The study showed that men find the simplicity of a woman's face to be the most universally appealing feature. The more basic the features, the more easily the image is to be cognitively processed. The human brain has a tendency of leaning towards simple stimuli.
The team had set out to better understand what traits men were seeking when judging the attractiveness of the female face. They took 169 men from southern France and showed them a random series of female faces on a screen. The men were asked to rate the faces on a scale from zero to twenty. Zero was the most unattractive and twenty was the most attractive.
Then the researchers constructed an algorithm to filter out facial traits the men found desirable. The algorithm specifically looked for a trait called sparseness. A strong connection between the attraction level and the sparseness of the faces.
"A sparse face is a face that is efficiently encoded in the brain — that is, using only a few neurons. In other words, they are easy to process in the brain," Renoult told Medical Daily. "Sparse faces typically are simple, with a smooth skin texture, few wrinkles, and smooth contour lines. We found that sparseness can explain between 10 and 15 percent of variation in attractiveness, which makes room for many other biological, cultural, and individual factors that influence mate choice."