Aesthetic is often colloquially equated with beautiful. The noun aesthetics comes from the Greek word “aisthesis” and means perception. Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714-1762), a German philosopher, founded aesthetics as a study of the laws of beauty (Aesthetica, 1758).
Aesthetics is the perception of beauty, elegance, grace and sensuality. Scientifically, two models of perception of the beautiful are distinguished. On the one hand, there is the individually very different perception of the beautiful, shaped by society, culture, age, experience, memory and learned things.
The learned aesthetics refers mainly to art (poetry, novel, music, theater, painting, sculpture and architecture, clothing fashion). Here aesthetic and moral values are mixed, from which good taste and good behavior are derived.
Aesthetic appreciation and judgment is very complex and engages multiple brain regions. Beyond this, there is an intuitive or innate universal perception of beauty. Harmony, proportions (golden number) and symmetry are perceived as aesthetic at first sight. These qualities signal health, youthfulness and fertility.
In the course of our evolution, the people who favored these traits were more successful. These attributes are therefore subconsciously perceived as beautiful in a fraction of a second today.
Depending on the ethnic origin, there are minor differences in terms of the most preferred proportions. In general, the attractiveness of the face, as well as the beauty of the human body, is important for the selection of a partner. The beauty of a person cannot be reduced to a universally valid formula. One reason for this is that human genetic diversity is the driving force of evolution.
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