Koinophilia – a love of all things average

Koinophilia – a love of all things average and a fondness for the usual – is a theory developed by biologist Johan Koeslag, who suggests that in nature creatures are drawn to mates with common and familiar features rather than those that are distinct or different.

In 1990, psychologists Judith Langlois and Lori Roggman tested the concept by showing 300 people a series of faces – some real men and women and some a mash-up of two, four, eight, 16 and 32 faces – and asked them to rate their attractiveness on a scale of one to five. 

The face made up of 32 faces morphed together scored highest, indicating that people are drawn to what is average and that attractiveness itself is in fact average.

Alex Gordon, chief executive of semiotics agency Sign Salad, says: “It’s possible to see that our biological imperative and responses to things like beauty have an influence over various different parts of our life, including brand desire, of which we are not in control. What started off as an investigation into human desire and mating rituals actually moves into all forms of desire, particularly brand desire and then consumer behaviour.

“Traditionally, brands want to create stand out and therefore difference, but our research discovers that brands that don’t stand out, but fit into the crowd eponymously are actually those that are most noticed, have greater appeal, and generate the most desire.”

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketing Week Meets… Mark Ritson

The Marketing Week columnist, consultant and professor explains why marketers need to talk about “making money first”, in a podcast recorded at the Festival of Marketing in October.


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here