Just thinking aloud. I was amazed in listening to Bill Bryson’s A Brief History of Everything, one theory is that babies are born with an ability to recognise 400-600 language sounds, and they lose most of that recognition when they start to learn their mother language, bringing their recognition down to about 50 sounds.
In other words, babies are born with mass language recognition – Nativism or sometimes called Innatism. I’m not sure what the difference is, but Wikipedia is a good place to try to explain it!
So, this set me wondering about beauty and who we find attractive. I was wondering if we have an inbuilt beauty recognition system that becomes refined when we’re born, and just like language (if that theory is true) we have a library of “attractive” and then refine it down. The reason I’m thinking this, is some of the people we find attractive look absolutely nothing like other people we find attractive. I mean how are Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie even closely related other than having Brad Pitt in common!!
And this library we may have inbuilt in us is cross race and cross cultural. We can all mostly agree on an attractive Japanese, Chinese, African, South European, North European etc, but they’re all incredibly different. Ok, individual people may have individual preferences, but the magazine covers seem to settle on the same 50 people who all look different. Admittedly “White”, but you know what I mean!
I can see someone who takes my breath away with beauty and attractiveness, but where did that come from? My childhood and teens? Did I build up a pattern of 8-10 types of women I find attractive? Can I composite those images together? I don’t think so. Have you ever seen a composite person built from the pictures most people rank as attractive. That composite doesn’t look that attractive!!
Could it be that just like language we come with an in-built 100+ attractive faces, and we refine them down, instead of culturally building them up from birth?