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A remarkable result of our research project is that faces which have been rated as highly attractive do not exist in reality. This became particularly obvious when test subjects (independently of their sex!) favoured women with facial shapes of about 14 year old girls. There is no such woman existing in reality! They are artificial products - results of modern computer technology. 
Same applies to the morphed average faces: Faces with such a smooth, pure skin, without any irregularities do not and cannot exist. But it is this kind of perfection that obviously overwhelmed our test subjects. Taking everything together it can be said that the most attractive face does not exist in reality - they are computed according to certain principles by machines. 
Having these results in mind it is also not surprising that a model agency from Munich chose 88% artificial faces (14 out of 16 selected faces) for potentially being interesting as a model for the category “beauty”. Only two natural male faces could keep up with the computer generated ones, within the group of female faces no natural faces have been selected! We also asked test subjects to indicate the most attractive faces found the same pattern: 81% (13 out of 16) of the selected faces had been generated by the computer. 
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virtuelles Model

virtuelles Model

virtuelles Model

A selection of faces which have been judged by the model agency as being suitable as a model. All six faces were produced by the computer and don not exist in reality.

Natural faces cannot keep up with their artificial “competitors”. This becomes even clearer when you look at the labels of the rating scale that has been used for the evaluation: Just 3% (!) of the natural faces were rated as "rather attractive" - the judgements "quite attractive" and "very attractive" were never applied to natural faces. However, within the group of morphed faces 30% of all female and 23% of all male faces were perceived as being at least "rather attractive". 
Looking at the negative pole of the judgements is even more worrying: 70% of all natural female faces and 79% of all natural male faces were judged as being "rather unattractive", "quite unattractive" or even "very unattractive". And you should keep in mind that the average age of the subjects that were depicted on the images was just about 24 years! 

Die schönste FrauThis woman was found most attractive by our test subjects. Also staff of the model agency selected it as being suitable for a model career. But this person does not exist in reality - she was computed by blending together the eight most attractive original female faces. Their skin is absolutely perfect and actually looks rather artificial. But it is this kind of perfection that obviously attracts test subjects. 

All this shows that we judge people and ourselves on a totally unrealistic basis. We compare ourselves with the most beautiful faces of the world which seem to be omnipresent in the media. They are integral parts in movies, in music video-clips, in commercials, they are on the title pages of magazines, on posters and so on. But the most absurd thing is that these “natural” faces the way they are depicted do not exist in reality either. Most of them are at least partially "artificial". Their digital images are increasingly optimized by modern image processing software. By doing so faces are generated with attributes that are unreachable for even the most famous super models. 

Claudia SchifferEven Claudia Schiffer does not look that perfect in reality. Her face has been electronically finished as different magazine editors admit: The skin gets its perfection by using various filters - thus pimples, large pores and small wrinkles disappear. Larger skin irregularities and wrinkles (e.g. under the eye) are retouched manually. All colors can be changed, for instance: the teeth get this bright white colour, the colour of the skin can be made browner and the blue of the eyes gets intensified. The eyes are worked on with sharp design filters - thus they appear more lively and more interesting. The manipulation of  the white part of the eyes is particularly evident. It is strongly brightend (see her right eye which lies slightly in the shade and should normally look light-grey). Thus the eyes appear to be larger, younger and more beautiful. --> zoom in

Being surrounded by so much perfected beauty, it is not surprising that so many people are frustrated by their own appearance or that of their partners. This feeling of inadequacy is utilized by a whole branch of industry. More and more people seek to find help at beauty surgeons and many secretly hope to benefit from genetic engineering in order to provide at least their descendants with a perfectly styled body. So they keep on dreaming about an idealized form of beauty that has become an integral part of the media and which does not exist in reality. 



Last modified: 30-08-2002, Webmaster
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