New Study Explains Why You and Your Friends Can Never Agree on Who's Hot

It's a scientific matter, really.

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(Image credit: HBO)

One woman's Brad Pitt is another's Benedict Cumberbatch—this is just a fact of life. And while the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder isn't exactly groundbreaking, a new study out of Harvard is exposing the science behind why

Entitled "Individual Aesthetic Preferences for Faces Are Shaped Mostly by Environments, Not Genes," the study concludes that it's largely personal experience and history that account for different perspectives on attractiveness.

Researchers tested 547 sets of identical twins (with identical DNA) and 214 sets of fraternal wins (who share half of the same DNA), providing them with 98 male faces and 102 female faces to rate. The expectation was that the identical twins would have identical preferences for attractiveness, while fraternal twins would be more varied. But the results proved that it was a person's individual environment that carried the most weight.

While a majority of people agreed on universal characteristics of beauty, like facial symmetry and clear skin, there was overwhelming evidence that people also have their own set of codes, whether they're derived from social interactions or even the face of a former lover. The proof is in the numbers as 1) Most people agree on the aspects of attractiveness only about 50% of the
time and 2) People's individual environments accounted for an overwhelming 78 % of the differences in how they perceived beauty.

So next time you get in a screaming match with you friends about the hottest cast member of Game of Thronescough Jon Snow cough—just agree to disagree and chalk your differences up to science.

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.