By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TVBy Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but is that really true, and if so, why? Dr. Mallika Marshall spoke to a local researcher who is trying to figure out why we have different tastes when it comes to beauty.

We often look to Hollywood for standards of attractiveness.

“People agree that your George Clooneys and your Brad Pitts and your Ryan Goslings are fairly attractive people and most people would rate them as being more attractive than a Donald Trump or someone less likely to be known for their face,” says Laura Germine, PhD, a research fellow in psychiatric genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Germine says there are some characteristics that people find generally appealing like facial symmetry and healthy skin tone, but don’t always agree on “who’s hot and who’s not.” Is that because our preferences are programmed in our genes or are there other factors at play?

Germine and other researchers at Mass. General looked at almost 800 identical and fraternal twin pairs and showed them 200 average faces and what they found is that your genetics don’t seem to play a huge role when it comes to your facial preferences.

“Once people have moved outside of the family home,” says Germine, “they start to have different experiences, different groups of friends, different relationships, and different exposures to faces, even as they’re walking down the street, and those factors are probably what’s shaping a lot of these individual preferences.”

We asked a group of ladies to look at the study faces and rate them. While they often agreed on which faces were most attractive, they didn’t always find the same ones appealing. “It’s not just the face,” says Felecia Cerrato, “it’s the personality and lifestyle and morals. The total package is what makes someone attractive.”

Which just goes to show beauty is in the eye of the beholder but is more than skin deep.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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