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October 14, 1992

The Changing Face of Beauty

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois at Chicago

JAMA. 1992;268(14):1941-1942. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490140149058

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


An initial perusal of this elegantly illustrated "coffee-table" book on the subject of beauty raises an array of questions. Of what interest would it be to JAMA readers? Perhaps psychiatrists would find the relationships between beauty, body image, and self-esteem of interest. The history and transformation of ideal beauty through the ages might appeal to plastic surgeons. Physicians, with an increasing population of women in their ranks, might discover a greater interest in and sensibility to some of the more personal aspects of patients' lives. Is the target audience some or all of us?

The physician-author notes that it was not until the late 19th century that perceptions of beauty and its attendant behaviors drew the interest of behavioral researchers. Finding the concept of beauty somewhat elusive, they have chosen instead to study "attractiveness" and its relationship to personal development. For example, do adults respond more readily to cute babies