I'm interested in Evolutionary Psychology and the male perception of female beauty. One of the ideas I'm trying to investigate is the correlation between female fertility and her attractiveness. A figure I heard several times is that at around age 25 females are the most fertile and thus most attractive.

I'm trying to verify this experimentally. It seems to me like a simple experiment would be to present an observer with a lineup of photos of the same woman at different ages. Everyone has photos at different ages, but I'm looking for the one where the posture and facial expressions are controlled, as to reduce variation due to factors other than age.

My question is - Are there posture controlled lineups of the photos of age progression from 15 to 50 that I can use for such experiment?

This image is from a video of a woman aging, but it has no age indication. I'm looking for something with shorter age gaps (15-16-17-18-...50). It seems one of the relevant search terms is "age progression" are there others? enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting experiment. Are you looking for photos of people digitally aged or naturally aged? Do you think that would make a difference? $\endgroup$ Apr 7 '18 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ Ideally these women would be naturally aged, as part of the attractiveness effect appears to be attributed to the effects of hormone levels, primarily estrogen. Part of the experiment is understanding if the male eye is capable of distinguishing these very subtle differences (94% peak estrogen vs 99% peak estrogen). Digital photo aging does not have hormonal effects. $\endgroup$
    – Alex Stone
    Apr 8 '18 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not aware of a dataset like that, but it could certainly be done by digital manipulation of photos (there is really good software for that nowadays that makes incredibly realistic-looking stimuli). I don't know if you meant that you wanted actual photos though? $\endgroup$
    – lindlesby
    Apr 11 '18 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ I don't feel like digital manipulation would create a difference as subtle as 22 years old vs 23 vs 24 years old. $\endgroup$
    – Alex Stone
    Apr 13 '18 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ It would seem highly-valuable to have a canoncial set of images of known ages and AI algorithms which can ascribe age to arbitrary face images, of both genders, many nationalities, attractivenesses and health/neotony epigenetics. $\endgroup$
    – dhchdhd
    Apr 22 '18 at 4:57

In my opinion, things that I find attractive change with circumstances. My age plays a role, how well you know someone or the more things you enjoy about them as you get to know them and then how those same things can bother you down the road or on certain days or when in certain groups.

Other factors like past experience, upbringing, things you find attractive might be qualities, or physical characteristics that a carer or influence of yours had: family members, teachers, movie stars, musicians, etc.

Ex girlfriends can change what you find attractive in future relationships. If you have a strong distaste for an ex then you might find qualities that she had unattractive if similar qualities are found in a new interest. Where as if you miss that person and hold them in high esteem, you may go looking for a kind of replica or replacement to satisfy the feeling you got when those qualities are present. But you may also resent those qualities because they remind you of that other person and this might contribute to lessening the attractiveness in them.

There is no answer to attractiveness. Some of us find it attractive to need someone to boost them up. Physical appearance doesn't necessarily matter, e.g. if someone who had an okay home life but had a mother, aunt, or other care giver that they really cared about who never seemed to obtain any satisfaction in life and was always unhappy but still got up and did it all in hopes that the child would have a better life, and maybe did it with a fake smile just for them, now this child may find other under-appreciated women attractive and try to give them that extra spice in life that the other people they care about never seemed to see, not necessarily sexual either, though it seems to be man's MO to believe he is a gift from god to bestow upon women. It's not as though a person has an attraction to "mother figures" or their own mother, I've never really read Freud, but it seems people who hate or fear Freud fear themselves and their own perverse minds thanks to the rash, cruel judgments of others, or their, or their parents' religion makes them feel shameful about it. Nobody wants to be run out of town, or labeled something they are not due to something the brain automatically does due to conditioned responses. (mind you, I don't believe in free will; I'm more of an "interacting processing" guy; ref. Robert Anton Wilson 'Maybe Logic'.)

I realize this is not exactly what you were asking for, but I think any study you can conduct will have no true control, especially without an extensive psychological study done on each individual subject and possibly even pictures of the women from their lives. Even if it is solely on physical appearance, the reasons I might like a certain kind of eyes more than the majority is perhaps I spent many crucial points of my life with someone who had eyes like that, or a "double chin and a plastic smile."

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. Please provide references to back up these claims - personal opinion and anecdotal evidence is frowned upon on this forum. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 6 '20 at 17:00

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