Are Attractive People Rewarding? Sex Differences in the Neural Substrates of Facial Attractiveness

  title={Are Attractive People Rewarding? Sex Differences in the Neural Substrates of Facial Attractiveness},
  author={Jasmin Cloutier and Todd F. Heatherton and Paul J. Whalen and William M. Kelley},
  journal={Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience},
The current study examined the neural substrates of facial attractiveness judgments. Based on the extant behavioral literature, it was hypothesized that brain regions involved in identifying the potential reward value of a stimulus would be more active when men viewed attractive women than when women viewed attractive men. To test this hypothesis, we conducted an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment during which participants provided explicit attractiveness judgments… 

Assessing facial attractiveness: individual decisions and evolutionary constraints

It is speculated that because of the risks involving mate choice faced by women during evolutionary times, selection might have preferred the development of an elaborated neural system in females to assess the attractiveness and social value of male faces.

Neural and behavioral responses to attractiveness in adult and infant faces

Middle Temporal Gyrus Encodes Individual Differences in Perceived Facial Attractiveness

Given the far-reaching implications of facial attractiveness for human behavior, its neural correlates have been the focus of much recent interest. However, whereas the focus of previous studies has

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews

There are many facial dimensions affecting perceptions of attractiveness that remain unexplored in neuroimaging, and future studies combining parametric manipulation of face images, brain imaging, hormone assays and genetic polymorphisms in receptor sensitivity are needed to understand the neural and hormonal mechanisms underlying reproductive drives.

I find you more attractive … after (prefrontal cortex) stimulation

Sex and Physiological Cycles Affect the Automatic Perception of Attractive Opposite-Sex Faces: A Visual Mismatch Negativity Study

The long vMMN latency in females during ovulatory period suggested a special reproductive motivation to avoid being tainted by genes, which takes priority over the breeding motivation.

The wandering mind of men: ERP evidence for gender differences in attention bias towards attractive opposite sex faces.

These ERP results suggest that, in addition to threat-related stimuli, other evolutionary-relevant information is also prioritized by the authors' attention systems, and that men and women have evolved to pursue different mating strategies with men being more attentive to cues such as facial beauty.

Gender differences in the incentive salience of adult and infant faces

Gender differences were found such that infants held greater incentive salience among women, although both sexes differentiated infant faces based on cuteness, and among adult faces, men exerted more effort than women to view opposite-sex faces.



Brain systems for assessing facial attractiveness

Sex, beauty and the orbitofrontal cortex.

  • A. Ishai
  • Psychology, Biology
    International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
  • 2007

Beautiful Faces Have Variable Reward Value fMRI and Behavioral Evidence

Evolutionary Psychology of Facial Attractiveness

The human face communicates an impressive number of visual signals. Although adults' ratings of facial attractiveness are consistent across studies, even cross-culturally, there has been considerable

Face Perception Is Modulated by Sexual Preference

Sex Differences in Adults’ Relative Visual Interest in Female and Male Faces, Toys, and Play Styles

It is speculated that sex differences in visual processing are a component of the expression of gender phenotypes across the lifespan that may reflectsex differences in the motivational properties of gender-linked stimuli.

Effects of sexual dimorphism on facial attractiveness

The results of asking subjects to choose the most attractive faces from continua that enhanced or diminished differences between the average shape of female and male faces indicate a selection pressure that limits sexual dimorphism and encourages neoteny in humans.

Facial Diversity and InfantPreferences for Attractive Faces

Three studies examined infant preferences for attractive faces in four types of faces: White adult male and female faces, Black adult female faces, and infant faces. Infants viewed pairs of faces,

Testosterone increases perceived dominance but not attractiveness in human males

The authors' data indicate that high testosterone faces reveal dominance, and there is no evidence of directional selection for increased (or decreased) testosterone in terms of attractiveness to the opposite sex, contrary to predictions.