Facial averageness and attractiveness in an isolated population of hunter-gatherers

Coren L. Apicella, Anthony C. Little, Frank W. Marlowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (SciVal)


Average faces possess traits that are common to a population. Preferences for averageness have been found in several types of study of both real and computer-manipulated faces. Such preferences have been proposed to be biologically based and thus should be found across human populations, though cross-cultural evidence to date has been limited. In this study we examined preferences for averageness in both the West and in an isolated hunter-gatherer society, the Hadza of Northern Tanzania in Africa. We show that averageness is generally preferred across faces and cultures, but there were no significant preferences for averageness in European faces by Hadza judges. The different visual experience of the two cultures may explain the differences in preferences. While Westerners have visual experience of both European and African faces, the Hadza are limited in their experience of European faces, potentially leading to a lack of preference for averageness in this group because of the lack of a representation of the 'norm' of European faces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1820
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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