All parents know their kids are the most mind-bogglingly beautiful creatures they've ever seen. But this bias for beauty appears to extend beyond one's offspring to the faces of those we see the most. Researchers report in the journal Human Nature that people tend to prefer choosing mates whose characteristics most closely resemble those of the people they're surrounded by. "In a world where it is said that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' it might actually be that 'beauty is in the faces of those we behold,' since we grow to like those around us," the lead researcher says.
To test this, the team asked both male and female participants to pick out which men and women they found most attractive from digitally manipulated face pairs. They then had a second set of people in another country rate the photos of the original participants, reports Medical Xpress. Sure enough, people were most drawn to the facial characteristics most common in their own populations. For example, both men and women in rural areas of El Salvador and Malaysia, where faces were rated to be heavier-looking than those in urban areas, preferred the heavier-looking female faces in the study. Other factors are, of course, at play. Another study finds that people prefer the faces of those who are well rested, reports the BBC, which is a sign of better health. (Julia Roberts is said to have ageless beauty.)