You know that little game you play where you look at the latest cover of InStyle and try to guess exactly what the in-house retouching team did to Terri Hatcher’s strangely Play-Doh-soft face (or is that just us)? Well, fans of super-fun Photoshop speculation and those trying to protect our daughters from the body-image-warping influence of digitally thinned, wrinkle-free cover girls may finally have a scientific method to measure the extent of computer-aided beauty enhancements.
Image forensics researchers at Dartmouth College have created a pretty solid mathematical model for tracing such Photoshop alterations and have applied it to dozens of magazine covers and ads. While the team has yet to produce a handy app using the formula (an app which we would totally use every day), their findings do pave the way for a clearer, more objective approach to cataloging and studying the effect such images have on the psyche – effects that are much discussed, but truly unknown. It’s a big step toward understanding this controversial issue… and helping us waste even more time with our little game. (Wired)