Saturday, April 12, 2008

What does this say about Φ?

Which of the young women shown above is prettier?

Here we have the faces of two women, the differences between whom are so subtle that I cannot articulate them. And yet, there is no question that the girl on the right is the prettier of the two.

According to this Reuters story, the two pictures are composites created from a population of women separated into two groups based on a single survey question: would you consider a one-night-stand?

The composites then became part of a survey of men, who were asked to guess which of the two would answer "yes" to being agreeable to a one-night-stand. And guess what? Seventy-two percent of the male respondents correctly identified the image on the right as belonging to women who were open to a one-night-stand.

At a conscious level, I would have no idea what features identify women with loose morals. But I wonder: what does the fact that Φ is more attracted to such women say about him?

And if this bias is widely held, as it appears, what does it say about our standards of beauty? And how much does this explain why the ranks of movie stars, selected for their beauty, also wind up behaving with such . . . immorality?

5 comments:

trumwill said...

Here we have the faces of two women, the differences between whom are so subtle that I cannot articulate them.

The girl on (our) right is thinner. The has less space between her nose and mouth, and a less broad chin. In short, she looks slightly more physically delicate than the other. If I were to be told that one of these was athletic, I'd have picked the one on the left. On attractiveness, I picked the one on the right.

I may have more thoughts later, but one of the things that jumps out at me is how the one on the left's eyes are brownish and the one on the right's are blueish. Also, the one on the right has lighter hair, indicating more blondes :).

Φ said...

I agree with you about the weight: it's one of the first impressions I had as well, but I couldn't describe exactly why I had that impression. So I made some measurements, and found that the neck and head of the girl on the left are thicker than those of the girl on the right, although the distance between the eyes is the same.

Good catch about the eyes and hair.

The mystery is why these feature should correlate with morals, although I probably won't like the answer. :-<

trumwill said...

I don't know that it's anything to be disturbed about necessarily. There may be two factors at play:

1. The Right girls are more likely to consider a one-night stand because such things are more likely to happen to them. Someone can say all day and all night long that they are against one night stands, but until one is in the situation, one doesn't really know how they will respond. The attractive girls have more likely been tested. It's possible that if all were tested not in a hypothetical situation but by a cute boy standing right in front of them that there would be less difference.

2. Perhaps the guys were able to pick the right person on the basis of projection. "This is the person that I feel more sensual about, so this is probably the more sensual person" (except perhaps in more crude language).

Thursday said...

More attractive girls can get away with more promiscuity and still find a steady mate.

mnuez said...

Damn intriguing shit. TOO intriguing in fact to take on anyone's word without doing some serious research into the study's methodology and purity. But the equation of 'Intriguing' X 'Likelihood of coming across some major paradigm shift in my understanding of the world' doesn't give me a high enough score to warrant further investigation.

Damn! This is why I prefer simplicity. I like Chocolate ice cream.

mnuez