The Evolutionary Principles of the Attractiveness of Symmetry and Their Possible Sustainability in the Context of Research Ambiguities



Symmetry belongs to one of the basic principles of the beauty of human and non-human objects since antiquity. Even though its significance has been verified by numerous theories and research studies, there is a number of papers suggesting that this principle may be false. The study identifies five major evolutionary principles, in the context of new approaches and research ambiguities based mainly on neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, that support the thesis that highlights the significance of symmetry in the perception and assessment of attractiveness: 1. symmetry as an honest signal of various health characteristics; 2. symmetry as proof of developmental stability; 3. effectiveness; 4. comprehensibility; 5. predictability. In the context of the mechanisms described above it also seeks possible explanations for the existence of contradictory research results related to the attractiveness of symmetry. The outcome of the study is the postulation of three hypotheses: 1. the naturalness hypothesis (symmetry is only attractive to the same degree that it naturally occurs in the subject); 2. the accent hypothesis (minor asymmetries do not disprove the principles of symmetry, they make them more visible); 3. the ecology hypothesis (the attractiveness of symmetry is conditioned by the situation and depends on the type of subject assessed) that allow us to integrate both past and contemporary (and putatively contradictory) research findings. The paper also provides proposals for the verification of the postulated hypotheses.


attractiveness; symmetry; beauty; evolution; neuroscience; cognition

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