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.”



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