Round 1 Science of Beauty

How does the brain decide what is beautiful?

Some say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder”  

What are we looking at?  What do we really see?

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According to wikipedia  “Beauty" is an experience that often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being.

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Anjan Chatter , a cognitive neuroscientist  explored studies of how the brain responds to characteristics associated with beauty.  Experiments have indicated that 3 elements contribute to making a face attractive. These include averaging, symmetry and the effects of hormones.

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The chemistry of beauty involves both the hormones that contribute to facial attractiveness and the  chemical response by the brain

A Procreation Perspective

Estrogen and testosterone play important roles in shaping features that we find attractive.  Estrogen produces features that  are feminine and signal fertility and maturity. Testosterone produces features that  are more masculine signaling health and vitality.

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Reward behavior pathways of the brain

Our visual brain processes faces and interacts with our pleasure centres to  underpin the experience of beauty. The brain responds to beauty by linking vision with pleasure followed by the production and release of dopamine.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger that is referred to as “ motivational molecule” . This reward provides drive and focus on what is pleasurable.  reinforcing that beauty is good.

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You find Who attractive????

Beauty can be found in different ways with different relationships with different motives.          

romance passion download [1)   family friends


Katherine Wu a student from Harvard University offers insight into attraction by asking what is love. Her findings show  Love can be distilled into three categories: Lust, attraction and attachment. Each type is characterized by its own set of hormones.


Lust:  Testosterone and Estrogen

Lust is driven by the desire for sexual gratification, stemming from an evolutionary need to reproduce.     

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Attraction:  Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin

Attraction involves the brain reward behavior pathways, releasing dopamine and serotonin in the initial attraction. Then Norepinephrine and dopamine are released during the attraction where one can feel energetic and euphoric.  

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Attachment: Oxytocin and vasopressin

Attachment is related to long term relationships such as  romantic relationships, friendships, parent - infant bonding.  Oxytocin and vasopressin hormones are released at events that are precursors to bonding and increases a sense of empathy. During sex, breastfeeding and childbirth are examples of event when  high amounts of oxytocin can be produced and released. The release of these hormones are associated with bonding rather than pleasure of the experience.

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In the end beauty is still in the eye of the beholder.

But we need to also understand  that the beholder has hormones that heighten their experience of beauty  within different relationships, with different motives which may still be influenced by  both cultural bias and media distortions. It is clear however that hormons have a key role in how we experience  beauty. .

Thank you Lauren for your insight  on my inquiry question and some references on the impact of self esteem or self love on the perception of beauty and the experience of beauty.  

I have desided to do my next round on the impact of self love and self esteem on the experience of beauty. The following are some of the resources I will be reviewing.



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Original Post

Hi Kaley, 

Nice research round. Awesome job! I really enjoyed reading about your section on how our brain processes faces and interacts with our pleasure center to “underpin” beauty. Furthermore, I find that interesting that our body produces dopamine when we see attractive faces. Interestingly, I didn’t know that it gave us the drive and focus on what is pleasurable! Great point on the science of beauty! 

Around the world, different cultures have their own perspective on what it means to be beautiful. For your next round of research, perhaps you could investigate the different kinds of beauty? As you mentioned in this post, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and I did some research on it! For example, I found that women with large feet, pointy teeth, long ears and long necks are considered to be beautiful in places such as Africa and South America.  You can perhaps delve more into that. I’ve attached the website that could be helpful down below. 


Websites that could help out:  



Good luck, 


Hey Kaley,

Awesome research round! It's really cool how our body releases different hormones for different attachments to different people, and how our body reacts to each one. And you're right, I also agree with the statement of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" it truly is subjective and as you explained followed by the release of certain chemicals in the body. For your next round of research, I think that looking into self-esteem is a very interesting turn to your inquiry. I have read many things online and heard this countless times, that your inner beauty reflects on the outside, and self-love is the first step in achieving beauty. I've always wondered why self-confidence and having a high self-esteem should make a person more 'beautiful'? And tying in the chemical aspect you talked about, does confidence and secureness in yourself have a physiological impact on your well-being and beauty? This would be cool to look into if you're interested !! Here's a link to get you started: great work otherwise : )

Hi Kaley! 

Cool round of research. You did a really good job explaining everything, in a  very well and organized manner. It seems to be true; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But as you explained, it all comes down to certain factors such as hormones that can impact the way one views beauty. This was a very interesting read! As I saw at the end of your post, you said you would be covering the impact of self love and self esteem on the experience of beauty. You could also incorporate different age ranges, to see if the impact is different or similar. You could also talk about how your level of self love can impact your happiness and mental health.

Here are some more sources that could help you out: 

Good luck! 


Hey Hello!

Its wonderful to read about the different ways human beings use to perceive beauty. To me, beauty feels like a complex mechanism we use to judge or determine what is more appealing in comparison to something or someone else. From your post, we all are made to go back to science, for be it lust, attraction or attachment, the main concept behind the above mentioned categories is hormones, basically science. Ideally, oral contraceptive pills are made of hormones. If we wanted to eradicate one of those three categories, say lust, can we inject Oxytocin and vasopressin to induce an attachment-dependent perception of beauty and Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to possibly have a person with attraction-related perception of beauty?

I have a few friends in Canada who told me they never want to get plump, because to them, as per what they told me, being plump makes you less attractive. 

Back home in Kenya, several ladies I have met, my mum and sister included, always want to get 'fat' with claims that being 'fat' is way much better than being slim.

That is strange, because it feels like several other factors influence the mind to decide what is beautiful.

Am looking forward to seeing how you will go about self love, technically because my friends say self love is a psychological armor against depression as a result of facing unacceptance or experiencing low esteem.

Good luck!


Hey Kaley!

Great round of research.  It was simple to read and still had really interesting and complex information.  I really appreciated the use of images, as i always think having another source of examples for the information you say is important.  It was interesting reading this, as beauty was never something i thought of of having anything to do with science.  I guess there doe have to be something that controls us and makes it different for each of us.  I find the whole concept of lust, attachment ans attraction as the factors of who you find attractive.  I find myself being a little confused still about how your hormones, i guess, choose.  What i mean by this is that, i understand that it depends on your hormones but how do they decide form there?  

An interesting idea for your next round is maybe looking into why opposites attract.  I find myself always interested in this.  Why is it so common for people to end up with someone that no one would ever guess?

Good luck!

Hey Kaley!

Great job on this round! Your research was very interesting for me to read because the idea of beauty and the science behind it is something that fascinates me a lot. I'm glad you decided to research the effects of one's self-esteem in relation to beauty. Personally, I believe that the way someone carries themselves is very important in terms of attractiveness. Someone who is well-dressed, hygienic and confident is much more likely to seem attractive compared to someone who may have facial symmetry or a high level of testosterone in my book. But hey, maybe that's just me!

Here are some sources that may be of use to you:

Great job and good luck!

Hi Kaley!
Interesting research round! I find your topic to be very intriguing because there are so many different views on it and is seen differently by everyone. I think your next round about self love is definitely going to be interesting to read. It makes me wonder about the differences and similarities between loving someone else versus self love, as well as the differences. Although some of them may be obvious, maybe you could do some comparison between the two if it interests you.
Here are some websites to help you out next round:

Good luck!

Hi Kaley!

I find it extremely interesting how people's perception of beautiful is influenced by our brain! After reading your post, I have come up with a few questions that I believe could really be something interesting to look into. 

How does society affect our image of beautiful? How does society shape our minds to see something as beautiful? I find it weird that a long time ago being skinny was considered more beautiful, but now it's being curvy that makes you beautiful. I don't think this is a change in the way our brains work, I think it's a change in what society makes us believe.

Another question I have is: Is there a scientific reason that most people find themselves ugly, yet others may find them beautiful?

I recommend you check out the links because they might have some useful information for you in the future.

Anyway, great job on your research and good luck in the future!

-Jasmine P

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