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We all take the easy way out

October 02, 2006|From Times wire reports

When someone is "easy on the eye," it could also be because they are easy on the brain.

A new study, published in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science, looked at previous research that found people rated images of standard-looking objects or people as more attractive than similar-looking people or items.

The researchers also tested people by showing them a prototype image made up of dots and geometric patterns, and variations of the prototype to see which people liked the most.

Piotr Winkielman of UC San Diego, who led the research, said the less time it took to classify a pattern, the more attractive it was judged.

"We show that this preference for the prototype is a function of the prototype being particularly easy to perceive," Winkielman said. "So the easier the better."

Winkielman pointed out that this "beauty in averageness" could apply to things such as the silhouette of a car, a watch and even to people.

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