How the brain distinguishes beautiful from ugly

About what beauty is, they began to think in antiquity. Surprisingly, since then, they have not been able to find an answer to this question, although they have singled out a whole area of ​​​​knowledge specifically for searches – aesthetics. The foundations of the latter one way or another led to psychology and metaphysics, the conclusions of which, however, could not be verified by algebra, and consequently sinned by insufficient scientific character.

Modernity has presented us with another panacea for unsolvable questions in the face of neurobiology. This science is not afraid to speak out not only about the questions that fall within its sphere of competence, but also about everything that can only be spoken about. Of course, neuroscientists have found time and place to deal with the central problem of aesthetics, but in application only to human beauty. So, we meet: Anjan Chatterjee is a neuroscientist and specialist in evolutionary psychology.

The scientist in his work “The Aesthetic Brain” tried, albeit in a roundabout way, to find the answer to the question: what is beauty. In his opinion, our sense of beauty is influenced by several parameters: symmetry, averaging and hormonal levels. Let’s consider them in a little more detail.

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The main indicator of health in plants, animals and people. Asymmetry suggests some developmental defects or pathologies. That is why we find symmetrical faces, bodies, and objects more attractive.

How do neuroscientists answer the question: what is beauty?

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The set of the main features of the group. As for a person, he prefers breadth and diversity, as, for example, in the case of representatives of mixed races. The more genetic ingredients accumulated in a person, the more adapted he is to the environment. It is believed that on a subconscious level, we are looking for just such individuals that will become the key to healthy offspring.

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Testosterone and estrogen. Our appearance also depends on their level. Although it is impossible to name certain physical parameters that everyone would like without exception, however, over time, the most preferred characteristics do become common to the group. In other words, something abnormal is excluded from the reproductive circle.

What happens to the brain during the contemplation of beauty

We saw a pretty face – what happens to us in this case? In our brain, the visual cortex and centers responsible for pleasure and reward are activated. Interacting with each other, these areas fix in us a response to the beauty seen.

How do neuroscientists answer the question: what is beauty?

In addition, in our minds, the concepts of “beautiful” and “good” are so cunningly intertwined that pretty people are more often seen by others as smart, reliable, and generally wonderful personalities in all respects. Such processes occur unconsciously, but they directly affect our lives. It is more convenient for us to communicate and do business with people who are beautiful, and not disfigured. Fortunately, this rule has exceptions.

Scientists believe that the basic characteristics of human attractiveness were built into us about 2 million years ago. A lot has happened since then, especially recently. In particular, one can note the rather rapid development of medicine, genetics, the emergence of artificial insemination and contraceptives. All this in the future may lead to a gradual revision of the concept of human beauty.

In conclusion, Mr. Chatterjee reports that neurobiology, unfortunately, is not able to solve the problems of aesthetics in their general form. It can only explain some phenomena, and even then with certain reservations. But even this should be enough to understand a little better what we are.

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