Cooper PA, DeBruine LM & Maurer D (2005). Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Long-Term Effects of Experience on Judgments of Attractiveness. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Austin, TX, USA. June 2005.

Although short-term adaptation is known to influence judgments of attractiveness (Rhodes et al., 2003), little is known about long-term effects. Here we took advantage of the documented influence of self-resemblance on attractiveness (DeBruine, 2004) to examine long-term effects of experience by contrasting the normal orientation of a participant's face and its mirror reversal. Participants (n = 48) are asked to choose the face they find more attractive in each of 20 pairs of symmetrised faces that were transformed by 75% of the difference between an average, symmetric face and their own face in its normal orientation versus its mirror-reversed orientation. If there are long-term effects of experience, then participants should select the mirror-reversed morphs as being more attractive because of their experience with their own reflections being greater than their experience with their own photographs. Data from the 20 participants tested to date (all female) indicate that mirror-reversed morphs are chosen as more attractive (t19 = 2.54, p < 0.05, two-tailed), a pattern suggesting that experience can have long-term effects on judgments of attractiveness.

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