From the time of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, human attractive- ness has been analyzed, sought, and revered. Specific proportions such as the golden ratio were initially thought to underlie perfection. Even then, researchers believed there was a fundamental relationship between attrac- tiveness and other positive health, behavioral, and personal qualities. ­ Current scientific research continues to explore what it is that makes some- one physically ­ attractive and how those traits relate to other qualities. Many psychology and evolutionary researchers have built careers studying beauty and physical attraction around the world, examining the underpinnings of what is beautiful and how beauty relates to success, physical and mental health, opportunities, friendships, sexual relationships, behavior, and mar- riage. Their research has added to a foundation of understanding what it means to be attractive and the biological underpinnings of beauty. Research clearly demonstrates a universal conception of beauty that is largely consis- tent throughout the world regardless of age, culture, political system, reli- gion, mating style, or government structure. The goal of this book is to explore these similarities to discover the underlying biology of beauty. The book explores basic questions surrounding what is considered beautiful, the benefits of beauty, how individuals try to make themselves more attractive (now and in the past), beauty trends in the United States, the evolutionary explanation for attraction, the impact of attractiveness on relationships, and the psychological effects of a preoccupa- tion with attractiveness. Preface
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