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Women's Attractiveness Judged by Software 348

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the computers-can-now-tell-you-how-ugly-you-are dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "According to Haaretz, an Israeli team of computer scientists has developed software that ranks facial attractiveness of women. Instead of identifying basic facial characteristics, this software has been designed to make aesthetic judgments — after training. The lead researcher said this program 'constitutes a substantial advance in the development of artificial intelligence.' It is interesting to note that the researchers focused on women only. Apparently, men' faces are more difficult to grade."
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Women's Attractiveness Judged by Software

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:22PM (#22924506) Journal
    I believe the the original paper can be found here [tau.ac.il] from Dec of 2007.

    There are some obvious criticisms:

    In the first stage, 30 human participants were asked to rate from 1-7 the beauty of several dozen pictures.
    For a masters project (which this was), that's a decent sample size. For research and practice, I do not think that will suffice.

    Second, this was done using eigenalysis and principle component analysis. While that's interesting, I have not always found that to be a great approach. Five or six years ago, they were all the rage although I cannot really find anything fruitful that has come from applying this to human faces. This also means that they cannot generate the 'most beautiful' face but if they did, it would simply be the composition of all their eigenvectors (in this case, ghostly looking images of faces) into one representing the highest scoring beauty.

    The lead researcher said this program 'constitutes a substantial advance in the development of artificial intelligence.'
    Having taken several AI, computer vision & machine learning courses, I don't find this to be at all substantial. An interesting masters project for sure, but several years ago I saw people doing the same things at local universities with the same results.

    Why don't they tell us how this scored some celebrities from around the world like say Iman Abdulmajid, Zsa Zsa Gabor & Angelina Jolie? I have a feeling that their system is over-trained and would perform poorly in real life. Facial beauty requires imagination and this system was hand trained on a hundred points. I don't think that's enough but I wish they would have published more results to either prove or disprove my criticisms.
    • Even beyond that... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:32PM (#22924638) Journal
      Even beyond the very real problems listed above, I'm not aware of any actual empirical standard of beauty. All you can point to is a general average of perceptions of attractiveness, and even that is far from foolproof as evidenced by the thousands of women who actively try to personify that average, and end up looking subtly hideous (a la Anna Nicole Smith).

      In the end, it all comes down to individual perception. Sit ten guys down with thirty pictures, and you're going to get 10 different #1's. Maybe you can teach a program to be able to say who it thinks is hot, whatever use that is. Or you could write a program that would allow a person to rate a hundred or so pictures, so that you could run a dating service that automatically pairs you up with people it thinks you'll find attractive...That's the only use I can come up with.
      • by toddbu (748790) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:36PM (#22924666)
        In the end, it all comes down to individual perception.

        I wonder how the algorithm works after the machine has had a few beers.

        • by tekiegreg (674773)
          Obligatory:

          Bite my shiny metal *ss
        • They feed it through special tubes!
        • by wealthychef (584778) * on Monday March 31, 2008 @06:12PM (#22925494)
          I can't believe the algorithm looks at faces. Obviously wasn't designed by a man.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by EdIII (1114411) *
            LOL. That's exactly what I was thinking!

            A male designed algorithm will be processing everything from the neck down :)

            Ohhh, and the whole damn thing could BSOD on some DD's.....
        • by borawjm (747876) on Monday March 31, 2008 @06:15PM (#22925524)
          I wonder how the algorithm works after the machine has had a few beers.

          The algorithm works better, but the hardware fails.
        • by Eudial (590661) on Monday March 31, 2008 @06:21PM (#22925596)

          In the end, it all comes down to individual perception.

          I wonder how the algorithm works after the machine has had a few beers.


          Here's the revised version:


          hotness_t is_good_looking_drunk(void* girl) {
                  return ID_TAP_THAT;
          } // Auxiliary morning after code
          void hangover(void* girl) {
              if(is_slashdotter(this) || girl == NULL) {
                  basement.exit();
                  new breakfast()->eat(); // Sorry, no clean-up
                  throw new moan();
              }

              try {
                  if(memory.search(LAST_NIGHT, "condom") || !is_good_looking_sober(girl)) {
                        exit(EXIT_QUIETLY);
                  } else throw new logic_error("Yeah right"); // Like this ever happens
              } catch (amnesia_error* e) { // Plausible deniability :-D
                      aspirin* a = find(this->apartment(), T_ASPIRIN);
                      if(a == NULL) throw new moan();
                      else this->ingest(a);
              }
          }
      • by pragma_x (644215)
        Well, wouldn't a large sample size (say, tens of thousands) help cancel out most of the individual preferences? At least then, your data would only be skewed by social/cultural preferences of your overall sample group, which may be good enough to get an idea of any underlying (instinctive?) standard of beauty.
        • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:44PM (#22924740) Journal
          Yes and no. Yes, you'll get a more accurate answer, as far as the machine is concerned, but no, in that the answer will be the lowest common denominator of attractiveness.

          When you put enough numbers together, all you really get is the sort of bland result that is acceptable to the largest number of people. The female equivalent of McDonald's food, top 40 music, and white bread...No real room in there for the beauty that can occasionally startle you, stop you in your tracks, that we all look for and seldom find on television.
          • by Otter (3800)
            When you put enough numbers together, all you really get is the sort of bland result that is acceptable to the largest number of people....No real room in there for the beauty that can occasionally startle you, stop you in your tracks, that we all look for and seldom find on television.

            You obviously don't watch Univision!!!

            Anyway, even if you're completely right, explaining 98% or 99% of beauty still seems like an interesting intellectual exercise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MarcoAtWork (28889)

        I'm not aware of any actual empirical standard of beauty


        you are kidding right? Even programming a very simple algorithm along the lines of

        bigger eyes, beauty++
        highly symmetrical face, beauty++
        triangular or oval shaped face, beauty++
        clear skin, beauty++

        will give you a pretty good set of matches
        • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:00PM (#22924876) Journal
          You just described something [alien.de] out of the x-files...Want to try again?
        • by timeOday (582209) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:07PM (#22924952)
          The idea that there are no set standards for beauty is wishful thinking. Every guy wants to find a girl who is beautiful and for some reason nobody else has noticed. In reality this never happens. The next time you see a pretty woman in the airport, don't look at her, look at all the guys as she walks by, it's quite noticeable. Attractive people are treated better from a young age and, knowingly or unknowingly, they leverage this asset to get what they want. This is not some quirk in the study of psychology, it's the driving force behind the behaviors that shape evolution. It's a cruel trick of nature that we are not all created equal, and I'm glad we're civilized enough to moderate some of the resulting inequality.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by debrain (29228)

            Attractive people are treated better from a young age and, knowingly or unknowingly, they leverage this asset to get what they want.

            All beautiful women who have been stalked, abused, or raped because they are physically attractive, may beg to differ. Also, not being taken seriously because you're a "barbie doll" is a less-than-subtle discrimination permeating Western society. Attractiveness, like all things, has good and bad points. It is fallacious to say it is an asset without costs.

            You may be interested in reading about the "evolutionarily deceptive" teenage years, where soon-to-be-ugly people appear attractive to seduce a mate, and

            • by The-Bus (138060) on Monday March 31, 2008 @06:21PM (#22925598)
              Wow, I may end up being the most handsome man in the world. I've been repelling mates for many years past my teenage years.
            • by kiracatgirl (791797) on Monday March 31, 2008 @06:45PM (#22925832)
              I don't believe he ever said or implied that being attractive had no negative points, just that it is an inherent benefit - or perhaps it's better to say weapon - in human social interactions. Somewhat akin to the two-edged sword analogy, it can either help or hurt you. Attractive people either wield their attractiveness knowingly to further their own ends, or unknowingly and to an unknown end. Using it actively can cause unforseen negative repercussions (fanboy stalkers etc.), and using it unknowingly causes all sorts of benefits and detriments to the attractive person and to those around him/her. Being unattractive works in much the same way, albeit with vastly different effects.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Belial6 (794905)
              Complaining about being beautiful is like complaining about being rich. The benefits massively outweigh the drawbacks to the point of not even making a difference. Just like when your rich, you can easily make yourself not rich, someone who is beautiful can easily make themselves not beautiful. The reason that beautiful people, particularly women, often get treated like "barbie dolls" is because as a group, they are FAR more likely to be dumb. Why would this be? Because they are human. Humans generall
      • by wattrlz (1162603)
        Actually, teaching the program to have an opinion of who it thinks is hot is a far cooler concept in my mind than training a program to analyze picture files to determine which one a group of about thirty people would be more likely to prefer. Though I suppose this would be very useful for a computer dating service.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          What would be useful for a computer dating service would be for you to rate each girl as you see them in terms of attractiveness, similar interests, etc. and use an algorithm like this to then filter out women that you probably wouldn't be interested in. Since each person's definition of beauty differs, it really needs to learn an individual's preference. Ideally, this could be combined with latent semantic analysis of the text that the potential dates typed as part of their profile to further improve mat

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gravesb (967413)
        I thought there were studies that show symmetry had a very high impact on attractiveness.
        • Well, no doubt most asymmetrical people have trouble dating, so yea, I can see that.

          Joking aside, most people already are symmetrical, so it would definitely stand out for people who aren't.
        • by erlenic (95003)
          I don't remember where I read this, so take it with the appropriate levels of salt.

          The study that I think you're referencing was actually linking symmetry and fidelity. They found that if a man's face was a little bit asymmetrical, his wife/girlfriend was measurably more likely to cheat on him than if he had a symmetrical face. The hypothesized explanation had to do with instinctive sexual selection, so there was an undertone of symmetry = beauty, but they didn't spell it out like that.

          The summary I read ma
      • by steelfood (895457)
        In the end, it all comes down to individual perception.

        This is true in part because it depends on what the individual looks like.

        There was a study some years back that basically established a link between having similar features and being attractive. Essentially, people who shared features with or looked similar to a person would be less attractive to that person, and more familial.

        But the wide and obvious variation in what gets people off should've been sufficient indication of this flaw in the first place
      • I read a web site somewhere about some German researchers trying to figure out what was "beautiful" by taking eight of the top Miss Germany contestants (including the winner) and algorithmically averaged their eight faces into a ninth composite face. To be fair, the beauty queen contestants had to wear no makeup and have a neutral expression on their face. They let people rank the nine faces in terms of beauty, and it turned out that the non-existent ninth "averaged" face was ranked the most beautiful.

        The
    • Really, identification and characterization of facial features is probably the more interesting (now, anyway) part of this project. Once you figure out how to characterize those features, you can just apply and train a feed-forward neural network based on your training set (decades-old technology now), and Bob's your uncle.

    • by coren2000 (788204) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:48PM (#22924770) Journal
      Out of 7!!! Who the #$%! ever said "Oh that chick is a 7, I need to do her now!"
      Software should conform to the normal 10pt ranking scale damnit!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bombula (670389)
      I participated in a psych lab as an undergrad about 10 years ago where the masters students were doing some project like this. We had to rank pictures of women's faces in order of most to least beautiful/attractive. Just faces, black and white against a black bakground, no other context - not even neck. What stood to me was that afterward, when they explained the results, they showed that some astounding percentage of participants - something like 97% - ranked the pictures in identical order. I think th
    • Then there are such things as racial, regional and cultural variations in ideas of "beauty".

      I agree; this does nothing but fancy correlations of faces with judgments of beauty made by a small sample of "instructors". If you were to increase the number of instructors, especially if you made them more diverse (say by region and culture), you would end up with a meaningless hodge-podge... the more meaningless the larger the sample.
    • The Eigenface people have been doing this stuff for years. I don't see any significant advance in AI, either; it sounds like they're just doing regression, possibly coupled with feature extraction.
    • You are indeed losing your edge to put Zsa Zsa into any sort of beauty list. Of course, my very statement proves the ridiculousness of beauty matching -- it's too hard to agree on beauty to get any sort of realistic outcome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by coaxial (28297)
      I do research in collaborative filtering, which is essentially what this is.

      In the first stage, 30 human participants were asked to rate from 1-7 the beauty of several dozen pictures.

      For a masters project (which this was), that's a decent sample size. For research and practice, I do not think that will suffice. Why don't they tell us how this scored some celebrities from around the world like say Iman Abdulmajid, Zsa Zsa Gabor & Angelina Jolie? I have a feeling that their system is over-trained and would perform poorly in real life. Facial beauty requires imagination and this system was hand trained on a hundred points. I don't think that's enough but I wish they would have published more results to either prove or disprove my criticisms.

      The number of participants in user studies are usually pretty low. A 30 person sample size is actually pretty good. It would have been better if the number of participants exceeded the number of items being rated though. That would have made this project better. A simple case would simply have been to enlist a bunch of undergrads from some classes. Double bonus points if he got their participation in the project mandatory. Tha

  • Wrong Metric! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 222 (551054) <stormseeker@gmail . c om> on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:22PM (#22924508) Homepage
    "Apparently, men' faces are more difficult to grade."

    Or perhaps their bank accounts are easier to derive a "value" from!

    I kid, I kid. I think.
    • by The Ancients (626689) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:24PM (#22924536) Homepage

      If I had mod points I'd mod you '+1 divorced'

    • by Sciros (986030)
      Yah and that ain't all you can measure.

      Speaking of which that goes for boobs, too. I also wonder if this one metric would lead to performance as good as what the research in TFA managed.
    • As we all know.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:27PM (#22924572)
      Women are in charge of quality control.

      Men will nail anything and the women really control sexual interactions. The cost of mating is far lower for men than for women therefore women are far more choosy.

      • by xPsi (851544) * on Monday March 31, 2008 @07:19PM (#22926126)

        Women are in charge of quality control.

        Men will nail anything and the women really control sexual interactions. The cost of mating is far lower for men than for women therefore women are far more choosy.

        Probably for most of our 100000+ years as a species this was true. But with birth and disease control advances in the past 50 years, great strides have been made to allow the relative coupling risks for women to drop considerably, at least in principle. Some men and women embrace this sexual symmetry by choice and this has given women more sexual freedom than ever before in history (i.e. they don't have to be so choosy), but for many, I guess old evolutionary habits are (understandably) hard to break since certain behaviors are essentially embedded in our wetware.
  • Not quite (Score:3, Funny)

    by calebt3 (1098475) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:24PM (#22924528)

    Apparently, men' faces are more difficult to grade.
    Or men are not good at identifying another man as attractive when they are straight.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:24PM (#22924532)

    "Apparently, men' faces are more difficult to grade."
    That's because male attractiveness is graded on a curve, the curve set by wealth, power, and social position. Remove those factors, flattening the curve, and the Cuban pool boy will be ranked at the top once more.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      According to some research, people tend to prefer their own race's looks, so Cubans are likely to find cuban pool boys more compelling than Swedes. Obviously there are exceptions for exceptional beauties of both sexes. But, this is a general trend. For instance, I have seen a total of one Indian guy I found hot and one I found attractive. I have dealt with a lot of Indians. I also don't tend to find latinos compelling, but there are always exceptions. I like young white guys the most, and this is likely due
      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:01PM (#22924882)

        According to some research, people tend to prefer their own race's looks, so Cubans are likely to find cuban pool boys more compelling than Swedes. Obviously there are exceptions for exceptional beauties of both sexes. But, this is a general trend. For instance, I have seen a total of one Indian guy I found hot and one I found attractive. I have dealt with a lot of Indians. I also don't tend to find latinos compelling, but there are always exceptions. I like young white guys the most, and this is likely due to genetics. One study found that people are better at differentiating between the facial features of their racial group. This can be due to increased day-to-day exposure to those features, but also can be due to genes.
        This can go both ways. While there is a degree of comfort for selecting mates within one's own racial subgroup, there's also a trend towards being attracted to exotics, i.e. those outside of the subgroup. This sort of desire has been postulated as an evolutionary adaptation to keep genes from becoming stagnant. I am not sure if this still in the realm of speculation or if there has been any experimental verification. Of course, culture can also completely fuck up a given subject's appreciation of beauty. Just look at how standard African features have been looked down upon in females. Look at any black couple on television and you'll see that the man may have markedly pronounced African features but the women will always be of mixed race, skin tending towards coffee color but facial features all comfortably Caucasian. I very much doubt this is by chance.
    • by value_added (719364) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:37PM (#22925212)
      That's because male attractiveness is graded on a curve, the curve set by wealth, power, and social position.

      I'm not an expert of male attractiveness, nor do I play one on Slashdot, but I imagine similar factors (absence of damage, proportionality of features, symmetry on the vertical plane, etc.) would play a similar enough role. That said, there have been plenty of studies showing that the "attractiveness" of a male's face corresponds to the menstrual cycle of the female: during ovulation, the "rugged and handsome" look is preferrable to "nice and well-shaved" whereas the inverse is generally true at other times.

      As for "wealthy and powerful", I guess that could similarly depend on the financial and social status of the female. I prefer to consider it a truism in the same way that in the wild, it's typically the biggest, strongest, or the one with the most goodies that gets the opportunity to mate.

      A side note for anyone cherishing the notion that everything is relative or personal, and there can be no standard of attractiveness. Even across disparate cultures where such things can run into the extremes, the attractiveness value of facial symmetry, to take one example, remains universal. I remember a PBS program on the subject years back that examined the faces of famous movie stars. Turns out by taking a ruler to the face of someone like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, you'll discover both have nearly perfectly symmetrical faces. I imagine one could conclude there's some form of Golden Ratio [wikipedia.org] that applies, particularly to body shapes like those of Angeline Jolie. ;-)
    • I dunno if it really is purely wealth, power and social position. I know plenty of women who like guys who aren't attractive OR wealthy/powerful/popular.

      Probably the biggest issue is that our society has a bunch of different "sexy" archetypes for men. Men can be Ashton-Kutcher-hot, young and muscular and so on, or George-Clooney-hot, older and more distinguished, or nerdy-but-hot or ravishing-seducer-hot or football-player-hot or whatever.

      Women are basically judged on a single metric: how close they look to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:25PM (#22924544)
    ...and generate a manhood-size-prediction algorithm.
  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:25PM (#22924548)
    I swore I'd never spout that misogynist meme, but for once it bears a glimmer of truth.
    • by ari_j (90255)
      It's only misogynist in some applications. Most often, it is at worst superficial. Sometimes, it is completely neutral. I wish that people would do a better job of compartmentalizing these things so as to not blur their meanings.
  • by Noodles (39504) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:26PM (#22924554)
    I saw an article in a science journal years ago that showed photos of women averaged together. The more photos in the average, the more attractive the final photo became. The conclusion was the more 'average' the woman looked, the more attractive she was. Makes sense to me.
    • Skin smoothness (Score:5, Interesting)

      by superstition222 (1019500) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:48PM (#22924764)
      The theory from some is that this averaging resulted in an illusory correlation between average and beautiful due to the fact that the averaging process improved the appearance/smoothness of skin. People apparently really really like good skin.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        I would mention that Cindy Crawford had a mole on her face. In fact, at one time 'beauty marks' were considered highly attractive in all women, so much so that they would apply then with makeup if they had none of their own. What does that do to the symmetrical theory?
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      I saw an article in a science journal years ago that showed photos of women averaged together. The more photos in the average, the more attractive the final photo became. The conclusion was the more 'average' the woman looked, the more attractive she was. Makes sense to me.

      I've noticed that most of the beauty contest contestants look "bland" to me. Its not that they are ugly, its just that they lack "spice". Throw in a few big booties here and there to mix it up, for example. Add in some round faces and a
      • Watch 1930s-1950s movies... there were many kinds of beauty.

        Watch TV & movies today... even the busboys and waitresses all look basically the same beauty level as the leads which is very high.

        It's like "middle class" families living in $750k houses in movies and TV shows. And it really screws up our expectations and happiness in real life.

    • by oni (41625) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:52PM (#22924806) Homepage
      The conclusion was the more 'average' the woman looked, the more attractive she was.

      My unscientific opinion is that men tend to rate nearly all women as attractive, and are not very picky beyond that. It's almost a binary, yes/no kind of thing. If pressed a man might be able to say, "this woman is a 6 and this one is a 7" but that rating has no meaning because few, if any, men will pass up the 6 in order to pursue the 7. The male strategy seems to be a shotgun approach - flirt with every woman.

      Women on the other hand, seem to rate very few men as attractive, and do seem very picky. A woman will judge a male as "6" and ignore him completely, because she knows a 7 is out there somewhere, if she keeps looking.

      In summary, I think that if you picked 10 males and 10 females at random, and then asked 100 or so males to judge the females and vice versa, you would find that the males ranked the majority of the females as attractive, and "in the field" so to speak, you would find the males flirting with all of them. You would find that the females ranked a minority of males as attractive, and "in the field" you would find that those are the only ones they are interested in.

      So like you said, an average female face is indeed attractive. This is good news for women. Most of them (and they know this) are attractive to the opposite sex.
    • by hcdejong (561314)
      One explanation for this is that we consider symmetrical faces to be attractive (very few people are perfectly symmetrical). Averaging multiple photos will make for a decently symmetrical face.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        One explanation for this is that we consider symmetrical faces to be attractive (very few people are perfectly symmetrical). Averaging multiple photos will make for a decently symmetrical face.


        Perhaps, but it turns out if you take one attractive but not perfectly symmetrical face, split it down the middle and combine with its mirror images, the resulting symmetrical faces are not more attractive; they look wrong.
    • From TFA:

      The research revealed that faces considered beautiful are average - with no extreme facial characteristics.

      The procedure would seem to eliminate edge cases offensive to some. Sort of begs the question of semantics of beauty don't it? What could possibly be beautiful in any true sense about an average.

      Middlebrow is not the same as tasteful and inoffensive is not the same as impressive.

    • by ABoerma (941672) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:07PM (#22924954)
      You can test it for yourself at http://www.faceresearch.org/demos/average [faceresearch.org].
    • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:24PM (#22925104)
      This [nih.gov] is the paper. There were several faces more attractive than the average. So, a conclusion from that paper was that you can't do wrong with average, but you can do better on occasion.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:27PM (#22924576)
    I thought that's what beer was for.
    • I need software to help me judge the attractiveness of women. Like other software that performs an important but infrequently used function, I would have to study the man pages and figure out the options on those rare occasions when I need to know if a woman is attractive.
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      Actually, I think this software might be very useful to quite a few people after a large quantity of beer. Just port it to your camera phone and suddenly you've got a portable second opinion of who you should leave with.
  • by Kyont (145761) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:31PM (#22924624)
    Women's Attractiveness Judged by Software Engineers

    There, fixed that title for you...
  • Knees (Score:3, Funny)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:31PM (#22924626) Homepage
    I thought the true measure of a womans attractiveness was the pointiness of her knees
  • Think about that.
  • Here's [lemon64.com] a screenshot from the main UI.
  • by crymeph0 (682581) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:34PM (#22924646)
    On the bright side, this should encourage more women to enter the science and engineering fields, if for no other reason than to crack into this system and perform the digital equivalent of dumping your cocktail on your head. I think training it to rank goatse as aesthetically pleasing would do the trick.
  • I would assume that, evolutionarily speaking, one strong criterion for a perspective mate is finding a partner to provide offspring with different genetic material. Since I assume facial characteristics are a result of genes, I'd assume that different people would find people attractive differently based on their own set of genes. To use a never-before-used analogy, finding the "best" woman is like finding the "best" wine for a given meal -- it all depends on what you're eating.
  • Symmetry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:38PM (#22924692) Homepage Journal

    I read an article a while back that made the point that one of the biggest factors in attractiveness was symmetry. The "perfect" face doesn't have any features out of alignment. There was another study that made the point that "averaging" faces produced more attractiveness, but this was actually the wrong conclusion. It was the averaging process that smoothed out features into perfect alignment.

    Symmetry actually makes sense. The more messed up someone's face is from ideal, the worse their genetics could be. Of course, there are other factors such as shiny hair, clear skin, sharp cheekbones, fitness, which all factor back to health.

    • I think that's true to an extent, but something about a perfectly symmetrical and idealized face (perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect teeth, etc.) just creeps me the hell out. And no, I'm not just being jealous because I don't look like that myself -- I've met the occasional male actor, and although objectively, they looked good, their looks still made me feel distinctly uneasy. Maybe it's just my brain reacting poorly to something that seems too good to be true, or maybe there actually is a genetic benef
  • So, was this a study to determine if the women were attractive to men? Or if they were attractive in general? And do men and queer women look for the same qualities in women? (hint: they don't) ... so ... I guess this computer is straight.

    The big question, what if the computer doing the rating was a fruit?
  • They couldn't get it to actually look up at women's faces whenever they wore an open top.
  • Old news (Score:3, Funny)

    by mcpkaaos (449561) on Monday March 31, 2008 @04:55PM (#22924824)
    Men have been judging women by their software for ages.
  • We knew that (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What we're looking for is a healthy specimen to breed with. We will judge the health of said specimen based on our own body type. For instance, if we have long fingers, we will find long fingers attractive and vice versa. There really isn't a godlike ideal that we strive for. We just want someone healthy who can give us healthy children. In that regard, the way the body curves is just as important as the face, if not more so. Somehow we think that judging beauty based on the face is pure while judging
  • by PPH (736903)
    Wrong anatomical part.
  • They made a movie [wikipedia.org] about it.
  • Something ommitted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:06PM (#22924936) Homepage
    Something I have noticed is that the more intelligent a woman is, the more attractive she looks when showing certain emotions.

    An intelligent woman looks highly attractive when confused...you can almost see the gears working in her head, trying to figure it out. An unintelligent woman just has a dumb confused look on her face.

    From what I have seen, intelligent women tend to not necessarily have more attractive facial features, but a more attractive way of showing their emotion and reaction to things. Not something that is commonly thought about.
  • Apparently, men' faces are more difficult to grade."


    Most computer programmers find it trivial to take the short-cut and run a credit score and bank account balance. This is a much more accurate portrayl of men's attractiveness anyway.
  • what of love? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:25PM (#22925118)
    I fell in love, unexpectedly, with a woman who was not a classic beauty.

    Within a handful of months, I noticed I was finding women with facial and body characteristics similar to hers more attractive than the magazine beauties I normally ogled. Indeed, the model types started looking odd to me.

    Now add in cultural and racial preferences and this "breakthrough" starts sounding like "bullshit".
  • Only for men. You'll notice the gender of the bright wits doing the "research."
  • Its called "Am I hot or not?" I won't even google it to see if it still is there
  • by AlecC (512609)
    In the name of God, WHY? The whole point of being a man (or a gay woman etc.) is so you can make your own estimation of women's beauty. One of the things I definitely DO NOT need a computer to do is to look at women for me. Many other things I may try and get computers to do for me - some sensible, some not. But I'll look at my own women, thank you very much,
  • ...Something about Natalie Portman... ...hot grits...

  • by religious freak (1005821) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:05AM (#22928416)

    Apparently, men's faces are more difficult to grade.
    Rather, what kind of dude wants to (or perhaps is even able to) code for MALE face attractiveness? I can't help but think the guys coding this said "hey let's do the women faces first, because I don't mind looking at chicks all day", rather than it being too hard.

    Yes, I'm assuming the team was mostly male... hopefully I don't offend anyone with this obvious assumption.

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