Perception of Facial Profile Attractiveness in the Anteroposterior and Vertical Planes by Lay People

Serene A. Badran


Introduction: The aims of this study were to evaluate the perception of facial attractiveness in male and female profile silhouette images that were incrementally altered to produce different combinations of anteroposterior positions and lower anterior facial heights and to determine whether a difference exists in evaluating the male and female profile images.

Methods: A profile photograph of an adult male and adult female that presented with a Class I anteroposterior relationship and an average lower anterior facial height was used. The positions of the mandible and maxilla were incrementally changed in the anteroposterior and vertical dimensions using Adobe Photoshop to produce nine different profile images for each of the male and female models. Silhouettes were produced from these images and rated for attractiveness by 109 lay people on a scale of 1 to 10. The means and standard deviations for the rankings were calculated. A Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to test for the differences in the ratings of the male and female profile images.

Results: The Class I image with reduced vertical dimensions was scored significantly more attractive for the female than the male facial profile (P < 0.01). While the Class III with average vertical dimensions and the Class III with reduced vertical dimensions images were considered less attractive for the female than the male facial profiles (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Class I male and female profile images were perceived as the most attractive and Class III profile images as the least attractive by lay people. The results may assist orthodontists and maxillofacial surgeons in treatment planning and in presenting different treatment options for patients. Racial and cultural differences exist in the perception of facial attractiveness, and clinicians should take that into consideration.


Facial attractiveness, anteroposterior skeletal relationship, vertical skeletal relationship, silhouettes.

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