The Golden Ratio and Beauty/Attractiveness. Is it true?

Does the golden ratio actually prefect facial attractiveness? If it does, is it true for both genders?

The golden ratio also known as Phi is 1.618 and it is assumed that any thing with proportions of this golden ratio is visually pleasing. However, I can’t find any sources why this true. Most articles on the internet are like, " this has a width to length ratio of Phi, therefore it is aesthetic." Why is the “golden” ratio even considered beautiful or aesthetic?

IMHO, its aesthetic qualities are 99.618% woo. However, along with its companion, the Fibonacci sequence, φ is interesting from a mathematical POV but that’s about it.

Fantastic series by Vi Hart on nature and φ:

Skip to the third video to find out if plants do math. :smiley:

A long time ago there was a bit of a fashion to try to find the golden ratios in classical paintings and other artworks. 100% woo. It isn’t hard to force almost any function onto a paining with enough handwaving.

Is the ratio pleasing? Well it is clear that a rectangle of about the golden ratio is a generally pleasing balanced proportion. But tying that back to the mathematical proportions is a big stretch. There are enough amusing mathematical results that you are guaranteed to find one close enough to some nice looking proportion or another.

Purely for the geeky fun of it I made my letterbox façade the golden ration. I turned out that the lumber I used when cut was very close when cut to lengths from the original piece I had chosen, so I went the whole way and cut it to within a mm. Sure it looks nice. But there isn’t exactly a grab your attention fabulousness of proportion that some other design would be missing.

It is considered pleasing because it produces spirals similar to those found in nature.

Despite what expert sources (like Donald in MatheMagicLand*) may tell you, there isn’t a lot of evidence that the Golden Ratio really is “the most pleasing ratio”. Claims about testing with rectangles (“Which of these is the most attractive?”) that supposedly show a Golden Rectangle as the ideal appear to have been oversold. In particular, it’s always bothered me that if a Golden Rectangle is the most pleasing, why is it that none of our rectangular shapes actually have that aspect ratio? Postcards, paperback books, hardcover books, television screens, monitor screens, motion picture images, postage stamps, notepaper pads, etc. etc. ad nauseam don’t have that ratio. Some come close , but not really all that close (3:5 ain’t phi). If this really was the Magic Number, it ought to be ubiquitous, and really close.


You’re missing an important point, Cal. It’s not the shape of a single rectangle that matters. It’s when you divide a space into smaller spaces. Think, for instance, of a window divided into three panes, or a floor space divided into a large room and two smaller rooms. Using the golden ratio gives you two squares and a rectangle. It just looks and feels right. It doesn’t have to be an exact measurement, just more or less that proportion.

I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here, and I suspect you don’t understand The Golden Ratio – it has nothing to do with dividing things up into smaller parts – it’s the ratio itself. If it’s not an exact measurement, it’s not The Golden Ratio, so why bring it up?

You can, of course, successively cut off squares and be left with a “golden rectangle”, but the squares are going to be of different sizes, which isn’t generally useful for subdiviuding rooms or windows

Besides which, you can get two squares and a rectangle using any ratio. Start with any rectangle. Cut off one square, and you’ll have a rectangle left over from that. Cut off another square, and you’ll have a rectangle left over from that one, too, and so on. Now, if you’re not starting with the Golden Ratio, then your smaller rectangles won’t have the same proportions as the original one, but… well, why should they?

Cecil speaks

Clearly the golden ratio is “magical” in that chopping off a square leaves a GR rectangle behind. But that also has the causation backwards. By the nature of plane geometry there must be some ratio where that recursion relationship holds. Once we find that number, we label it “golden”.

The idea that that is especially aesthetic is well disproven woo. Next up: Numerology for $200 Alex.
A: “The beautiful Golden ratio”
Q: “What is bunk?”

The flag of Finland has an 11:18 ratio, which is a fairly close approximation of φ.

Salvador Dalí was fond of it and used it to create art.

I’m more impressed with that golden dodecahedron in your first example (12 sided figure behind a Last Supper attended by 12 disciples = cool) than I am by any supposed connection with the Golden ratio, which I frankly don’t see.
11:18 is 1.63636, vs. 1.618. If they really wanted to get a Golden Ratio, they could’ve done it.

The US flag has a ratio of 1.9. If there’s anything to this “most pleasing shape” thing, there ought to be a lot more Finlands and fewer US’s

Attractiveness = Beauty × Availability[sup]2[/sup]

… times e[sup]NumberOfDrinks[/sup] :smiley:

I get that the lines intersect at a point 0.618 of the way from the top and from the right, but I also don’t see why that’s significant. You could draw such lines on any painting, or other lines at any other ratio you choose. Is the point where the lines intersect supposed to be particularly significant? It looks like it’s just one of the disciples’ hands (and why not some other disciple, or some other body part, or Jesus himself?).

So far, SB doesn’t seem to think that the golden ratio is inherently visually pleasing.

No, I guess not! But anyhow, it’s nice to look at.

We’re not splitting up! We’re just gonna go in two different groups.