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Attractiveness related to head and face length relative to height
People have been describing the ideal length of the head (top of head to bottom of chin) or face height (from hairline to bottom of chin) in relation to standing height since at least Classical Greece. In the fifth century B.C., the Greek sculptor Polycleitus of Argos described some aesthetic proportions in The Canon of Polycleitus and illustrated it with a bronze statue of the Canon or Doryphorus (Spear bearer). The Roman marble copy of Doryphorus is shown below. The height of Doryphorus is 7.5 times the head length.
In the late fourth century B.C., the sculptor Lysippos described the ideal head length as an eight of height, which is observed in the Roman marble version of Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican Museum.
The first century B.C. Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote in De Architectura that the ideal face length was a tenth of standing height, which corresponds to ideal head length being an eighth of height.
The Renaissance figure Leonardo da Vinci sketched Vitruvian man to show some ideal proportions. He described the ideal head height as an eighth of standing height and the ideal face height as a tenth of standing height. Another Renaissance figure, Albrecht Durer, described the ideal head length as an eighth of one’s height.
Naini et al.(1, pdf) had men and women of different ethnic backgrounds judge the following series of images for the most attractive head length in relation to height.
Naini et al. computed the average proportion of the images found most attractive and reported it as the height being 7.8 times the head length. When forced to pick a single image, most selected the one with height 7.5 times the head length, followed by height 8 times the head length. The preference regarding the most attractive image didn’t vary by sex or ethnicity.
The authors also cited averages among North American young adults of European ancestry: the average man had height 7.7 times head length and 9.4 times face length and average woman height 7.6 times head length and 9.4 times face length.(2)
The peak attractive range in the study was height between 7.5 to 8 times head length. This should overwhelmingly overlap with the peak range for women, too (which we can assume to be roughly height 7.4 to 7.9 times head length).
- Naini FB, Cobourne MT, McDonald F, Donaldson AN. The influence of craniofacial to standing height proportion on perceived attractiveness. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. Oct 2008;37(10):877-885.
- Farkas LG. Anthropometry of the head and face. 2 ed. New York: Raven Press; 1994.