The value of averageness in aesthetic rhinoplasty: humans like average noses

Floris V.W.J. van Zijl*, David Ian Perrett, Peter J.F.M. Lohuis, Carolina E. Touw, Dengke Xiao, Frank R. Datema

*Corresponding author for this work

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The aesthetic ideal of the nose eludes clear definition. Averageness may be an important determinant of ideal nasal shape: research has shown that averageness plays an important role in the human perception of facial attractiveness.


To test whether an averaged nasal shape is attractive, and whether deviation away from average is associated with decreased attractiveness.


Photographical series of the face were obtained from 80 Caucasian female volunteers aged 25-40 years. A mathematically averaged composite image was created using the first 40 volunteers. Forty-one panel members were recruited to judge the attractiveness of the nose of each original image and the composite, using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (very ugly) to 5 (very pretty). Deviation of nasal shape from average was calculated using a principal components analysis of standardized nasal landmarks.


Twenty-one respondents were male (51%). Mean (SD) age of the respondents was 35.3 years (±15.6). The rating of the composite was significantly higher than the distribution of ratings for the 80 original nose images (4.2 vs 2.8, t=31.24, P<.001). The rating of the original nose images correlated negatively with deviation from average shape (r = -.40, n = 80, P<.001).


In Caucasian females, a mathematically averaged nose is an attractive nose. Furthermore, the more an individual nose shape resembles average shape, the more attractive it is rated. Calculating deviation from average before and after rhinoplasty may aid in objectively measuring aesthetic rhinoplasty outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersjaa010
JournalAesthetic Surgery Journal
VolumeIn press
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2020


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