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Big Picture on How We Look

Are you looking at me?

When we see people, we recognise individuals, we make judgements about them, we draw conclusions about their age, their sex, their personality, their mood and their intentions. And, deliberately or not, we send signals to others - through our expressions, the way we dress and the way we modify our bodies.

Underlying this social communication are the genetic and physiological processes that turn a single cell - a fertilised egg - into a three-dimensional adult.

This issue of 'Big Picture' looks at this remarkable interplay - between the biology that sculpts our form and the culture that interprets, embellishes and adapts this form. It asks what we mean by ‘normal’, what beauty is and how such concepts influence the way we live. It looks at why we take the form we do and considers what we might look like in the future.

Articles and interviews - exclusive online content
Rubber arm The brain can be fooled into thinking that an inanimate object is part of the body.
Whose beauty? Facial symmetry seems to apply across cultures. What about body size?
Ageing and society Why do our attitudes towards ageing tend to be negative?
Changing Faces Video interview with three people from a facial disfigurement charity.
Living with dwarfism Video interview with Nichola and Stefan, who both have achondroplasia.
Interview with Jan Video interview with Jan, who has undergone cosmetic surgery.
Big Picture on How We Look Big Picture on Drug Development RH module B Download PDFDownload PDF
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