Men's judgments of women's facial attractiveness from two- and three-dimensional images are similar
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Although most research on human facial attractiveness has used front-facing two-dimensional (2D) images, our primary visual experience with faces is in three dimensions. Because face coding in the human visual system is viewpoint-specific, faces may be processed differently from different angles. Thus, results from perceptual studies using front-facing 2D facial images may not be generalizable to other viewpoints. We used rotating three-dimensional (3D) images of women's faces to test whether men's attractiveness ratings of women's faces from 2D and 3D images differed. We found a significant positive correlation between men's judgments of women's facial attractiveness from 2D and 3D images (r = 0.707), suggesting that attractiveness judgments from 2D images are valid and provide similar information about women's attractiveness as do 3D images. We also found that women's faces were rated significantly more attractive in 3D images than in 2D images. Our study verifies a novel method using 3D facial images, which may be important for future research on viewpoint-specific social perception. This method may also be valuable for the accurate measurement and assessment of facial characteristics such as averageness, identity, attractiveness, and emotional expression.
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