The Theory of Beauty
Beauty is a subjective quality of things which makes these things pleasurable to see. These things include beautiful sunsets, landscapes, human faces and works of fine art. Beauty, along with personal taste and aesthetics, is currently the most important theme of aesthetics, among the major branches of psychology. However, aesthetic psychology is an emerging field which studies how aesthetic judgments motivate and affect behaviors and choices.
Several theories address the nature of beauty. Some theories explain beauty as an internal, internalized feeling while others describe it as a relation between objects. Additionally, some theories explain beauty as the product of a socio-emotional experience and some even define beauty according to the power of bodily and psychological responses. Beauty, in addition to personal beauty, has also been associated with social beauty which refers to beauty standards associated with the beauty practices of certain groups. Beauty therefore, is also a subjective experience and is influenced by several different and varied dimensions such as culture, tradition, class, and nationality.
In addition to the above-mentioned theory, some other theories explain beauty as the result of the effect beauty has on behavior and self-esteem. According to this theory, the aesthetic affect a person has towards a certain object is determined by his/her brain’s response to visual stimuli, which include facial features, color, size, shape, movement, and other visual aspects. These stimuli initiate a variety of neural circuits within the brain and these connections influence an individual’s perception of beauty. For example, facial features such as symmetry, averted eye gaze, open mouth and other non-parallel aspects elicit different network of neurological activities in the brain which result in the formation of aesthetically-appealing facial features, eye fixation, and other aspects of aesthetic judgment. Thus, attractive faces judgments are formed based on the aesthetic effects of visual stimuli that include bodily features, color, size, shape, movement, and other aspects.