Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beauty lies in beholder's Mind

Dear friends

A thing of beauty is joy forever; either it may be a flower or a pretty visage. Human endeavor had also been to enhance one’s beauty, sometimes supplemented with aids of fashions. Helen of Troy launched 1000 ships, how many are you going to launch? Frequently asked question to a pretty woman. Quest for beauty had taken long leaps in the past and present times. However, variability in appreciation of beauty is very subjective to each individual and in a course of normal life; one appreciates every thing closer to him/her. But stunning beauties are remarkable and leave an everlasting image on everyone’s mind. One may question, what is the exact reason or essence of beauty? Is it really lies in the eyes of the beholder? If so, why?
Few scientists did make a probe into realities of appreciation of beauty. It was observed that few important aspects are actually responsible for it. Symmetry of face, symmetry of body, good waist to hip ratio, health of the person, proportionate with respect to size and contour of the body. Why do we readily make out even a very small change in a known face or a mistake in a portrait painting? But, not in a large landscape. Our eyes are trained in watching faces first than the other parts of the body, in a course of time; eyes are so experienced and can notice very minute defect in face.

1. Human body is truly bi-symmetrical, barring one odd organ placed differently. In Harvard school of medicine, Neuropshychologists have conducted few studies. Firstly they have used few photographs of renowned beautiful models, film stars and other personalities; these were analysed for symmetry of the face with the help of computerised programme. I.e. distances between similar parts of the face and minimum score were given to the most symmetrical face. It was evident that all the popular personalities for beauty had minimum scores correlating the study than the unattractive faces. It means the more the symmetrical the face is more beautiful.
2. In a different study, random numbers of people were given life size photographs of beautiful celebrities and were told to give the ranks as per their subjective judgment. Results of this study were well correlated with the first one.

3. Thin waistline compared to hip circumference is normally associated with beautiful people, it means symmetrical body in size and contour is also essential along with beautiful face. Thin waistline medically also indicates less of visceral fat which is responsible for serious disorders. Greater the waist line Shorter the lifeline. When children were asked to choose Barbie doll they preferred them with the very thin waistlines. So a good ratio of waist to hip is also one of the important indicators of beautiful body (less than 0.85 for women, less than 0.90 for men).

4. Face is an indicator of one’s personality and also good health. Most of beautiful people were also healthier.

5. Now the question is when do we really learn to appreciate beauty? In one Neuro-psychology study infants of aged between 6-8 months, were subjected to watch illuminated pictures of different faces, they gazed more at the beautiful ones.

So it’s not merely the complexion or a hairstyle, but beauty is appreciated after perceiving many scientific facts from the subject and analysed in the brain. Beautiful face, bodies and forms are more pleasant to watch than the abnormal or asymmetrical shapes of people.
Anatomical symmetry, health, proportion of body, good waist to hip ratio, are all put together to make one beautiful. This sense of perceiving and appreciating beauty also taken many evolutionary changes during human development, that is probably the reason large number of people appreciate the same celebrities as really beautiful.
Even in nature, similar characters are seen. Feathers of many beautiful birds i.e. peacock, parrots, many flowers, foliage, animals, and the whole nature is a blend of symmetrical form and color. So to summarize, it’s not just our eyes decide whether the object or face is beautiful, but the Brain which analyzes all the above factors. Hence Beauty lies really in the beholder’s brain but not just in eyes.

Dr S Bakhtiar Choudhary
Consultant-Sports medicine