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James Nolan, Mark Sai Leong Chan; Perceived facial attractiveness as a function of age and clinical vision diagnosis. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):891. doi: 10.1167/7.9.891.
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It is believed that attraction does not change throughout a lifetime as attractiveness is closely linked to the average or prototypical face (Langlois & Roggman, 1990; Chan, Schnackenberg, Bement & Nolan, 2005). The purpose of this project is to follow up on previous research conducted on facial attractiveness and age by testing the effects of the age of stimuli on the perception of attractiveness and also to address whether or not a clinical vision diagnosis (such as AMD- Age Related Macular Degeneration) has an impact on ones perceived level of reported facial attractiveness. Research by Zebrowitz, et al (1993) has shown that raters from a single age group are able to rate faces from different age groups similarly based on attractiveness. This is known as Differential Stability, which is defined as “consistency of individual differences within a sample of individuals over time” (Caspi & Bem, 1990). But this does not fully support the prototypical or averaged face as described by Langlois & Roggman (1990), as an averaged face was not included in the 1993 study conducted by Zebrowitz et al. It is further understood that averageness is a factor that has a role in facial attractiveness. We tested individuals from 6 age groups with standard vision (n=60) including children, adolescents, young adults, middle adults, late adults, and senior adulthood. We further tested individuals who had clinically diagnosed conditions (such as AMD, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Cortical Vision Loss) with the same testing procedure. Subjects were asked to rate both individual and morphed composite exemplar faces for level of attractiveness via a likert-type scale. Our results further support the averageness hypothesis of Langlois & Roggman (1990). Our results indicate a possible qualitative difference between perceived level of attractiveness regarding averaged and non-averaged faces, regardless of age and diagnosed visual condition.
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