The Concept of Beauty in Evolutionary Psychology

Beauty is widely defined as the aesthetic aspect of things that makes those objects pleasurable to see. These objects include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and other works of art. Beauty, along with aesthetic appreciation, is the most important theme of aesthetics, among the various branches of fine art. The word ‘beauty’ is a combination of two Greek words, meaning beauty and logos, signifying the artistic representation. In contemporary usage however, the word beauty is often used without reference to any particular aesthetic conception and is often used in contexts of beauty, class and style.


Aesthetic experience and its definition are intimately linked. Aesthetic experience depends on the interpretation of certain factors that may not have direct relation to the object’s aesthetic qualities, but which have an important bearing on the beholder’s response to the object. Thus objects may be aesthetically perfect, in the sense that their parts are symmetrical and yet aesthetically flawed in the sense that they are deformed or missing an essential characteristic. Aesthetic experience is therefore related to the interpretation of these factors, which in turn are themselves affected by the individual aesthetics-wants, desires, ideals, beliefs, hopes and joys. Thus the beauty of a work of art depends on the thoughts, emotions and sentiments that the work inspires.

A number of theories exist that attempt to define beauty. Some of these theories are based on the correspondence principle, which states that beauty is a perfect synonym of goodness, because a beautiful form is a form that expresses or reveals something that is good. According to this theory the aesthetic experience is linked to the physical and mental symmetries of reality, which are, on an abstract level, expressed in the symmetries of specific objects. This theory, however, has some difficulties. For example, objects that are geometrically symmetrical do not necessarily contain within them, on an aesthetic level, qualities that are essentially positive or aesthetic in nature. Similarly, symmetries in the real world are not constant, as new inventions and realigning influences change the symmetries of objects, creating a variety of asymmetries that may not necessarily be aesthetically pleasing.

Another important contribution of aesthetics is to define art, for which beauty is an essential characteristic, which determines the value and significance of any work of art. According to the classic view, beauty is defined by the proportion between the parts and the whole, and the importance of each part relative to the other parts. In this view, the beauty lies in the proportions and the balance between elements, and so on. Aesthetic evaluation is therefore related to the evaluation of form and composition. It is a branch of psychology concerned with the aesthetic qualities of a human being, considered as the essential characteristics that determine the overall quality and value of a human being.

According to evolutionary psychology, beauty is a product of natural selection and is based on genetic dispositions and intelligence. However, some psychologists argue that beauty is subjective, and that it varies according to cultural norms of beauty that differ from country to country. This view is widely considered to contradict the assumption of universal beauty, which is why many still consider facial beauty to be one of the most important aspects of beauty.

Beauty is, however, a highly individual concept, and is influenced by many cultural and individual factors. For example, African American women may consider herself to be more beautiful than another white woman who may consider herself to be beautiful. Similarly, men often consider women’s beauty according to their physical attributes, such as face and body shape, rather than their personality traits. It is believed that individuals derive happiness and well-being from relating to others and from making a difference in the world. In this light, it is seen that beauty, as an aesthetic quality, relates to human needs for interpersonal relationship, confidence, and self-esteem, and so on.