On aims and methods of facial attractiveness research: the lasting influence of Tinbergen (1963)

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Abstract

Tinbergen's influential paper, On Aims and Methods of Ethology, has had a lasting impact on facial attractiveness research. While researchers rarely explicitly acknowledge the influence of Tinbergen's ideas, the field has embraced evolutionary thinking in recent years. !is focus on functional and phylogenetic explanations has led to the generation of hypotheses that, when tested, produce knowledge at all four explanatory levels - hypotheses about the survival value, in Tinbergen's terms, of facial preferences have led to knowledge about the facial cues that are perceived as healthy and attractive. The focus on phylogeny as an important way of confirming predictions at the functional level has also led to the adoption of traditional ethological techniques of observation, as comparative and cross-cultural anthropological studies are brought into what is, at heart, an experimental science. The influence of Tinbergen's ideas on facial attractiveness research is discussed with examples from the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalHuman ethology bulletin
Volume28
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Faces
  • Attractiveness
  • Tinbergen

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