A challenge for cleft lip kids: symmetry.


I return again to the topic of facial symmetry which we’ve dealt with here, here, and here, to cite only recent blog posts.

Cleft lip kids face challenge when dating.

To show why symmetry bedevils cleft lip kids, esp as they get to dating age, I’ve borrowed the findings cited in a recent Wiki article about physical attractiveness. (Actually , the pertinent info is from the entry entitled Symmetry in the “Facial Attractiveness” subsection. ) I’ve modified the wiki article footnotes which show the social science research that underlies the generalizations.


Pretty actress Jessica Alba's Face with marks measuring for symmetry & proportions.


•            Symmetrical faces and bodies may be signs of good inheritance to women of child-bearing age seeking to create healthy offspring.

•            Studies suggest women are less attracted to men with asymmetrical faces, and symmetrical faces correlate with long term mental performance[1].

•            [They]  are an indication that a man has experienced “fewer genetic and environmental disturbances such as diseases, toxins, malnutrition or genetic mutations” while growing.[2] Since achieving symmetry is a difficult task during          
             human growth, requiring billions of cell reproductions while maintaining a parallel structure, achieving symmetry is a visible signal of genetic health.

•            Studies have also suggested that women at peak fertility were more likely to fantasize about men with greater facial symmetry.[2] and other studies have found that male symmetry was the only factor that could significantly predict the likelihood                of a woman experiencing orgasm during sex.

•            Women with partners possessing greater symmetry reported significantly more copulatory female orgasms than were reported by women with partners possessing low symmetry, even with many potential confounding variables controlled.[3]

•            This finding has been found to hold across different cultures. It has been argued that masculine facial dimorphism (in men) and symmetry in faces are signals advertising genetic quality in potential mates.[4]

•            Low facial and body fluctuating asymmetry may indicate good health and intelligence, which are desirable features.[5]

•            Studies have found that women who perceive themselves as being more physically attractive are more likely to favor men with a higher degree of facial symmetry, than are women who perceive themselves as being less physically attractive.[6]

•            It has been found that symmetrical men (and women) have a tendency to begin to have sexual intercourse at an earlier age, to have more sexual partners, and to have more one-night stands. They are also more likely to be prone to infidelity.[7]

•            A study of quarterbacks in the American National Football League found a positive correlation between facial symmetry and salaries.[8]

 QB Tom Brady '11 J Beall

QB Tom Brady ’11 J Beall 

References for symmetry research.

1.   Feng, Charles (2002-12-06). “Looking Good: The Psychology and Biology of Beauty”s . Stanford University. Retrieved 2012-01-20.

2.   “Face shape clue to mental decline: Men with symmetrical faces are less likely to lose their memory and intelligence in later life, according to researchers.”  BBC News. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-15. “Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh found a link between facial symmetry and mental performance between the ages of 79 and 83. …”

3.   Tim Radford (17 August 2005). “How women dream of symmetrical men.”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-01-19. “The research once again confirms a hypothesis that beauty is not merely in the eye of the beholder: it is an indicator of genetic fitness. 
4.   Thornhill R, Gangestad SW, Comer R (1995). “Human female orgasm and mate fluctuating asymmetry”. Animal Behaviour 50 (6): 1601–15. doi:10.1016/0003-3472(95)80014-X
5.   Little AC, Jones BC, Waitt C, et al. (2008). Reimchen, Thomas, ed. “Symmetry Is Related to Sexual Dimorphism in Faces: Data Across Culture and Species” . PLoS ONE 3 (5): e2106. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002106
6.   Little AC, Burt DM, Penton-Voak IS, Perrett DI (2001). “Self-perceived attractiveness influences human female preferences for sexual dimorphism and symmetry in male faces”. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 268 (1462): 39–44. doi:10.1098/rspb.2000.1327. PMC 1087598. PMID 12123296


8.   DAVID J. BERRI (September 16, 2008). “Do Pretty-Boy Quarterbacks Make More Money?”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-15. “Research, though, has indicated that what we think of as facial attractiveness is really just facial symmetry.”


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