What does facial symmetry reveal about health and personality?

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Abstract

Over the last two decades, facial symmetry has been intensively researched. The present article aims to summarize empirical research concerning relations between facial symmetry and health and facial symmetry and personality. A systematic review of the literature shows that facial symmetry is one of the most influential visual markers of attractiveness and health, important for mate selection, while asymmetry can be considered a consequence of an individual’s inability to resist environmental and genetic stressors during development of the organism. However, in spite of evidence suggesting that preferences for facial symmetry are deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, a strong connection between facial symmetry and health is demonstrated only in studies measuring perceived health, while there is only scarce evidence corroborating the link between symmetry and actual health. The interconnections between facial symmetry and personality have not yet been extensively researched. Less than a dozen studies have addressed that issue and they have reached different conclusions. Some evidence suggests that facial symmetry signals personality attributes that indicate good psychological health, while other findings imply that pro-social personality traits negatively correlate with facial symmetry.

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