Are Our Faces Symmetrical
Grade Level: 6th - 9th; Type: Human Anatomy
In this experiment, we will find out whether the faces of humans are symmetrical or asymmetrical.
When something is symmetrical, it is exactly the same on both sides. There have been studies that show that human attractiveness is based on the degree of facial symmetry. But how symmetrical are our faces, really?
- 10-20 test subjects
- A decent camera
- An image-editing software (with the ability to cut and flip images)
- A computer
- Have your test subject look straight ahead into the camera (no head tilting or looking off to the side!)
- Zoom in and take a photo of the person's face only.
- Repeat steps 2-3 for all your test subjects.
- Once you are done gathering your photographs, upload them to an image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop or even Microsoft Paint.
- Open up one of the photographs and use a ruler and slice the face directly in half (equally down the midline).
- Set one of the halves aside.
- With the other half still on the workspace, duplicate it and flip the duplicate horizontally.
- Now piece the flipped duplicate onto the half on the workspace.
- Observe and record what you see. Look for symmetry.
- Now with the other half you set aside repeat steps 8-9 on a separate workspace.
- Now you should have two images that should be completely different from the original, unedited photograph.
- Repeat steps 6-12 for all of your photographs. Are the faces the same on both sides?
Terms/Concepts: facial symmetry; facial features; facial structures
- Wikipedia's Facial symmetry page
- Sciencedaily: Facial Symmetry
- Penrose, Roger (2007). Fearful Symmetry. City: Princeton.
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