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Visual attractiveness is leaky: the asymmetrical relationship between face and hair

Saegusa, Chihiro and Into, Janis and Shimojo, Shinsuke (2015) Visual attractiveness is leaky: the asymmetrical relationship between face and hair. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 . Art. No. 377. ISSN 1664-1078. PMCID PMC4390982.

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Predicting personality is crucial when communicating with people. It has been revealed that the perceived attractiveness or beauty of the face is a cue. As shown in the well-known “what is beautiful is good” stereotype, perceived attractiveness is often associated with desirable personality. Although such research on attractiveness used mainly the face isolated from other body parts, the face is not always seen in isolation in the real world. Rather, it is surrounded by one’s hairstyle, and is perceived as a part of total presence. In human vision, perceptual organization/integration occurs mostly in a bottom up, task-irrelevant fashion. This raises an intriguing possibility that task-irrelevant stimulus that is perceptually integrated with a target may influence our affective evaluation. In such a case, there should be a mutual influence between attractiveness perception of the face and surrounding hair, since they are assumed to share strong and unique perceptual organization. In the current study, we examined the influence of a task-irrelevant stimulus on our attractiveness evaluation, using face and hair as stimuli. The results revealed asymmetrical influences in the evaluation of one while ignoring the other. When hair was task-irrelevant, it still affected attractiveness of the face, but only if the hair itself had never been evaluated by the same evaluator. On the other hand, the face affected the hair regardless of whether the face itself was evaluated before. This has intriguing implications on the asymmetry between face and hair, and perceptual integration between them in general. Together with data from a post hoc questionnaire, it is suggested that both implicit non-selective and explicit selective processes contribute to attractiveness evaluation. The findings provide an understanding of attractiveness perception in real-life situations, as well as a new paradigm to reveal unknown implicit aspects of information integration for emotional judgment.

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Additional Information:© 2015 Saegusa, Intoy and Shimojo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Received: 11 November 2014; Accepted: 16 March 2015; Published online: 09 April 2015. Conflict of Interest Statement: This study was partly funded by Kao Corporation, where CS is employed as a researcher. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. We thank Vikram S. Chib, Eiko Shimojo, Daw-An Wu, Daniela Mier, and others in Shimojo psychophysics laboratory for their advice on this research. This research was supported by Kao Corporation, JST.ERATO, JST.CREST, and Tamagawa-Caltech gCOE.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Kao CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) ERATOUNSPECIFIED
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) CRESTUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:attractiveness, face perception, emotion, information integrality, eye movement
PubMed Central ID:PMC4390982
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150507-140552297
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Official Citation:Saegusa C, Intoy J and Shimojo S (2015) Visual attractiveness is leaky: the asymmetrical relationship between face and hair. Front. Psychol. 6:377. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00377
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:57343
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 May 2015 21:20
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 08:23

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