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Invited Commentary
May/Jun 2015

Moving Toward Objective Measurement of Facial DeformitiesExploring a Third Domain of Social Perception

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2015;17(3):189-190. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2015.36

In this issue, Litschel et al1 present novel data on the visual distraction caused by protruding ears. They used an eye-tracking device for objective evaluation and correlated the eye-tracking test findings with personality survey assessments. These data represent an important addition to a burgeoning body of evidence on the effect of facial deformities. Until now, in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, we have had a relatively limited understanding of the effect of facial deformities and abnormalities on visual distraction and facial perception. Previously, we had accepted the general tenet that faces with abnormalities are less attractive and less “normal,” and that our surgical procedures restore attractiveness and normality; however, these ideas have been based on limited objective evidence. Furthermore, we have relied primarily on the subjective perceptions of experts and the patients themselves to inform our ideas on these paradigms of attractiveness and normalcy, inadequately assessing the perceptions of casual observers.

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