Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is Beauty Quantifiable?

The New York Times posted an extremely interesting article that explores a new computer program that has been able to mathematically calculate what makes a person beautiful. Researchers showed a variety of people different pictures of people to help them determine the qualities that, in general, people find attractive. They then created a computer program that could take an image of a person, apply these qualities in a mathematical equation that would correct the distance between eyes, hair line, mouth and nose, etc. to create a "more attractive" image. The article explores the opposing concept that beauty, cannot in fact, be calculated, but that it is changing with our social constructs daily. Lois B. Warner, a historian who has studied beauty stated, "They are never going to locate it on a gene. They are never going to get away from the cultural influence.”
The most depressing idea in the article comes from Dr. Etcoff; “We have always had a huge industry to make people look better. Everyone wants to look better. And we keep taking it further and further to all these images that have been doctored. There is a whole generation of girls growing up who think it’s normal not to look the way they really look.”

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