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The golden ratio or divine proportion and facial beauty
The golden ratio -- also referred to as the divine proportion, Φ (Phi), golden mean or golden section -- is illustrated below.
The golden ratio. Learn more about its mathematical correlates.
The golden ratio is observed in several places in nature.(a, b; content not endorsed) There have been a number of attempts to describe ideal facial proportions -- and even body proportions -- in terms of the golden ratio,(1-4) going back to the Renaissance and even Classical Greece, some examples of which can be seen in this paper by Jefferson. However, a number of studies have not found any relationship between facial attractiveness and compliance with golden ratio proportions(5-9) or that there is any special aesthetic preference for the divine proportion among humans.(10)
Therefore, it has not been shown that beautiful faces are somehow derived from the golden ratio. If one thinks about it, complex three dimensional structures such as the human face present a lot of proportions, and if one looks hard enough, one could find that some pairs of distances closely approximate the golden ratio in attractive individuals and also less attractive individuals. One cannot be confident that facial beauty is related to the golden ratio if a ton of proportions are not related to it but a few are found to be in compliance and only after extensively looking for them.
This brings us to Stephen Marquardt’s mask, which appears to be the most tortuous attempt to describe facial beauty in terms of the golden ratio, and which has not been properly addressed in the papers cited above. Several shortcomings of Marquardt’s Phi mask in reference to the optimal aesthetic preferences of the participants in numerous studies have been pointed out previously. Other problems related to Marquardt’s mask will be mentioned later.
- Ricketts, R. M., Divine proportion in facial esthetics, Clin Plast Surg, 9, 401 (1982).
- Jefferson, Y., Facial beauty--establishing a universal standard, Int J Orthod Milwaukee, 15, 9 (2004).
- Seghers, M. J., Longacre, J. J., and Destefano, G. A., The golden proportion of beauty, Plast Reconstr Surg, 34, 382 (1964).
- Levin, E. I., Dental esthetics and the golden proportion, J Prosthet Dent, 40, 244 (1978).
- Moss, J. P., Linney, A. D., and Lowey, M. N., The use of three-dimensional techniques in facial esthetics, Semin Orthod, 1, 94 (1995).
- Matoula, S., and Pancherz, H., Skeletofacial morphology of attractive and nonattractive faces, Angle Orthod, 76, 204 (2006).
- Ward, D. H., Proportional smile design using the recurring esthetic dental (red) proportion, Dent Clin North Am, 45, 143 (2001).
- Rosenstiel, S. F., Ward, D. H., and Rashid, R. G., Dentists' preferences of anterior tooth proportion--a web-based study, J Prosthodont, 9, 123 (2000).
- Qualtrough, A. J., and Burke, F. J., A look at dental esthetics, Quintessence Int, 25, 7 (1994).
- Davis, S. T., Aesthetic preferences for the unity ratio resist the influence of color illusions, Am J Psychol, 120, 47 (2007).