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Transient Pupil Constriction Reflects and Affects Facial Attractiveness

Liao, Hsin-I and Kashino, Makio and Shimojo, Shinsuke (2020) Transient Pupil Constriction Reflects and Affects Facial Attractiveness. . (Unpublished)

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Contradictory to the long-held belief of a close linkage between pupil dilation and attractiveness, we found an early and transient pupil constriction response when participants viewed an attractive face (and the effect of luminance/contrast is controlled). While participants were making an attractiveness judgment on faces, their pupil constricted more for the more attractive (as-to-be-rated) faces. Further experiments showed that the effect of pupil constriction to attractiveness judgment extended to intrinsically aesthetic visual objects such as natural scene images (as well as faces) but not to line-drawing geometric figures. When participants were asked to judge the roundness of faces, pupil constriction still correlated with their attractiveness but not the roundness rating score, indicating the automaticity of the pupil constriction to attractiveness. When pupillary responses were manipulated implicitly by relative background luminance changes (from the pre-stimulus screen), the facial attractiveness ratings were in accordance with the amount of pupil constriction, which cannot be explained solely by perceptual brightness induced by simultaneous or sequential luminance contrast. The overall results suggest that pupil constriction not only reflects but, as a part of self-monitoring and attribution mechanisms, also affects facial attractiveness implicitly.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Liao, Hsin-I0000-0002-4740-7380
Kashino, Makio0000-0002-4354-6690
Shimojo, Shinsuke0000-0002-1290-5232
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license. Posted April 03, 2020. This study was partly supported by Core Research for Evolutional Science & Technology (CREST) from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), PI: MK. Author Contributions: HL and SS developed the study concept. All authors contributed to the study design. HL conducted experiments, collected and analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. SS and MK provided critical comments and revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Japan Science and Technology AgencyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:pupil; face perception; appraisal; attractiveness; decision
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200403-141240157
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Transient Pupil Constriction Reflects and Affects Facial Attractiveness. Hsin-I Liao, Makio Kashino, Shinsuke Shimojo. bioRxiv 2020.04.02.021436; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102331
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Apr 2020 21:40
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:11

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