Stories tagged beauty

Apr
02
2008

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all      Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.: Or, as the poets say, "hubba-hubba."
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.: Or, as the poets say, "hubba-hubba."Courtesy beardenb

An Israeli student has written a computer program to recognize beauty. Human volunteers were asked to rate the attractiveness of several dozen photo portraits. The photos, along with their scores, were fed into the computer. The computer measured the faces and looked for commonalities between the ones rated most attractive.

The human subjects then rated another set of photos. The computer reviewed these, and compared them to what it had learned with the first set. It then rated the new photos. The computer’s ratings were very close to those provided by the humans.

The most impressive thing about this experiment is that the computer learned by itself. The programmers did not give the computer a definition of beauty. Rather, they let the machine figure it out for itself. This is considered a major step forward for artificial intelligence.

And if you’re wondering, average faces with no distinguishing characteristics are considered the most beautiful, both by humans and computers.

Dec
03
2007

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all      Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.: Or, as the poets say, "hubba-hubba."
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.: Or, as the poets say, "hubba-hubba."Courtesy beardenb

Is there an objective standard of beauty which everyone agrees on? Or does every individual have their own definition of “beauty”? Turns out it’s a bit of both.

Researchers showed images of famous sculptures to test subjects and monitored their brains’ response. When shown images that had normal proportion, a certain part of the brain was active. When shown distorted images, that brain region was silent. This implies that our brains are hard-wired to recognize and respond to beauty.

However, when asked to judge whether an image was beautiful or ugly, a different part of the brain, one associated with learning and emotion, became active. The researchers conclude that, while our reaction to an image may be hard-wired, what we think about the image is up to us.

A random search for something else just popped up this site where you can post your beauty product questions for real scientists to answer. (I'm not a heavy user of beauty products, but I found it fascinating.) Here's a request, though: if you post to Beauty Brains, post your question here, too. And then, when you get a response, let us know what they said!