The Real You
As a photographer, painter, and sculptor, as well as a noted cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Stephan Mandy approaches cosmetic dermatology with an artist's eye. Here, he discusses beauty and the concept that we are born with an inherent knowledge of what is pleasing to the eye.
Newborn Babies Prefer to Look at Attractive Faces
"I think we are born with some image of humaneness," says Dr. Mandy, a board-certified dermatologist in Miami, suggesting that facial recognition is hardwired at birth, rather than learned.
Research conducted at the University of Exeter appears to show that people are born with a pre-programmed understanding of what makes a person attractive. The study reveals that infants are born with built-in preferences that help them to make sense of their world. The finding undermines the theory that people develop an idea of attractiveness from experience.
In the study, newborns were shown two images side by side, one showing an attractive face and the other a less attractive one. "If you take three-month-old babies, and you show them pictures of people, they will smile at attractive people and frown at ugly people. Beauty implies health, it implies warmth, something babies intuitively sense," says Mandy.
We May Not Be as Attractive as We Think We Are
Another fallacy concerning beauty and the way we see ourselves, says Mandy, is that we judge ourselves in a two-dimensional world. When we look in a mirror we are only seeing ourselves in 2-D, and so we are judging ourselves with 30% less information.
Mandy explains when you look at someone in person, you're looking at them in 3-D. They are moving and you see their profile and all different angles of their face. Mandy says if you saw yourself in a mirror that captured all of you, you'd see a different view. In other words, we may not be as attractive as we think we are! Mandy makes us feel better by saying, "Now that doesn't mean you wouldn't be an attractive you, but you'd see a more real you."