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Earlobe proportions and attractiveness
Mowlavi et al.(1) assessed the relationship between earlobe proportions and attractiveness in a sample of white North Americans.
The following diagrams address the proportions evaluated and how they were varied.
Fig. 1. Anatomical landmarks of the intertragal notch (I), otobasion inferius (O), and subaurale (S). Earlobe proportions comprise of two components: the cephalic component (intertragal notch-to-otobasion inferius distance; I-O distance) and the free-margin caudal component (otobasion inferius-to-subaurale distance; O-S distance).
Fig. 2. Range of I-O distances assessed (5 to 20 mm). Evaluators were asked to rank, in order of most desired to least desired, ear shapes in life-size female and male sketched profiles in which the I-O distance was altered.
Fig. 3. Range of O-S distances assessed (0 to 20 mm). Evaluators were asked to rank, in order of most desired to least desired, ear shapes in life-size female and male sketched profiles in which the O-S distance was altered.
Male and female judges rated similarly. For both male and female sketches, the I-O distance was preferred at either 5, 10, or 15 mm rather than at 20 mm; and the O-S distance was rated as follows: 5 mm > 10 mm > 0 mm > 15 mm > 20 mm.
Therefore, people are less particular about I-O distance than about O-S distance.
The following image shows the outline of Marquardt’s mask, which he claims to be the outline of the “ideal” female face.
Fig.4. Marquardt’s Phi mask.
The I-O and O-S distances cannot be assessed in Marquardt’s mask, but the ear lobe length in Marquardt’s mask is 34.2% of the ear length.
The authors used 14 combinations of I-O and O-S distances in their sketches for attractiveness judgments; they avoided sketches of the combination of high values of both these distances since these combinations would obviously look ridiculous. The following diagram shows the top 3 rated sketches by both male and female judges.
Fig. 5. Top-rated sketches; from left to right: #1, #2 and #3. #1 corresponds to I-O = 10 mm and O-S = 5 mm. #2 corresponds to I-O = 5 mm and O-S = 10 mm. #3 corresponds to I-O = 5 mm and O-S = 5 mm. The top three rankings for male sketches had the same proportions, respectively.
In the #1 and #2 choices in Fig. 5, the ear lobe is 23.4% of the ear length, clearly strikingly different from Marquardt’s mask. Once again it is shown that Marquardt’s mask isn’t close to what most people find attractive.
In a sample of 100 predominantly white individuals, the ear length ranged from 56 to 81 mm (average = 65 mm) and ear lobe length ranged from 13 to 25 mm (average = 18 mm)(2). In this sample, the ear lobe length was 23 to 34% (average = 28%) of ear length. Therefore, Marquardt’s mask has ear lobe proportions at the extreme of white populations.
- Mowlavi, A., Meldrum, D. G., Wilhelmi, B. J., Ghavami, A., and Zook, E. G., The aesthetic earlobe: classification of lobule ptosis on the basis of a survey of North American Caucasians, Plast Reconstr Surg, 112, 266 (2003).
- McKinney, P., and Cunningham, B. L., Aesthetic facial surgery, Churchill Livingstone, New York, pp. 222 (2002).