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Back in the 1870s, Charles Darwin’s cousin Francis Galeton wanted to define the face of a criminal. He assembled photographs of men convicted of heinous crimes and made a composite by lining them up on a single photographic plate. The surprise: everybody liked the villain, including Galton himself. He reasoned that the villainous irregularities he supposed belonged to criminal faces had disappeared in the averaging process. In the next century, scientists began to show reliably that faces combined digitally on computers were likablemore so than the individual faces from which they were composed. Although people clearly admire the long legs of Brazilian model Ana Hickmann or Dolly Parton’s breasts, in general humans like averages.
Researchers confirmed that humans judge real faces by their differences or similarities from a norm. But they also found that the norm can change quickly: When researchers showed 164 people sets of 100 computer-generated faces representing a slow transition from male to femaleand from Japanese to Caucasianit turned out that the test subjects’ idea of what constitute an "average" face shifted depending on the first face they saw. When they were flashed a super masculine face first, more faces on the spectrum impressed them, by contrast, as female. The masculine face had, in effect, set a standard. From then on, other faces had to be more masculine in order to rate as belonging to the gender. The study noted a similar shift using a scale of faces moving from surprise to disgust.
The authors, who published their results in the journal Nature, conclude that in real life we also quickly change ore" perception of the midpointwhat’s normaldepending on what we see. We may not be aware that our judgment has changed; we simply see differently, says Michael Webster, a psychologist at the University of Nevada in Reno and coauthor of the study.
One implication is that individual and social attitudes toward what’s acceptable, and what’s beautiful, change over time. "If you look at plastic-surgery trends, in the 1950s and 1960s you saw little upturned noses," notes Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff, author of the book Survival of the Prettiest : The Science of Beauty. "Now the noses are broader and the lips are plumper. We’re seeing images from around the globe, and it’s changing our idea of the average. " So if you’re unhappy with some aspect of your face, take comfort: beauty is a moving target.By mentioning the experiment in the second paragraph, the author implies that()

A. our definition of what’s normal varies with gender
B. our focus of attention varies with gender and age
C. our definition of what’s average changes over time
D. our focus of attention is distracted when interfered


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