It’s not fair, but it’s true: some people just look prettier and more attractive than others. And as if that were not enough, beautiful people live easier lives – from the nurse who gives more attention to the pretty baby, the schoolteacher who is more likely to blame the ugly kids to the salary negotiations where beauty often results in a bigger paycheck.
From a biological perspective it has become clear in recent years that beauty is not a fleeting phenomenon which, like fashion, changes with time and across cultures. Rather, behind all this beauty lies a biological signal that informs the surroundings of how healthy we are.
The face appears to be particularly important as a signalling device. And now an international study, headed by the Finnish evolutionary biologist Markus Rantala of Turku University, shows that attractive faces signal different things in men and women.