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Full Access Within and cross-sensory interactions in the perceived attractiveness of unfamiliar faces

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Within and cross-sensory interactions in the perceived attractiveness of unfamiliar faces

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Major findings in attractiveness such as the role of averageness and symmetry have emerged primarily from neutral static visual stimuli. However it has increasingly been shown that ratings of attractiveness can be modulated within unisensory and multisensory modes by factors including emotional expression or by additional information about the person. For example, previous research has indicated that humorous individuals are rated as more desirable than their non-humorous equivalents (Bressler and Balshine, 2006). In two experiments we measured within and cross-sensory modulation of the attractiveness of unfamiliar faces. In Experiment 1 we examined if manipulating the number and type of expressions shown across a series of images of a person influences the attractiveness rating for that person. Results indicate that for happy expressions, ratings of attractiveness gradually increase as the proportional number of happy facial expressions increase, relative to the number of neutral expressions. In contrast, an increase in the proportion of angry expressions was not assocated with an increase in attractiveness ratings. In Experiment 2 we investigated if perceived attractiveness can be influenced by multisensory information provided during exposure to the face image. Ratings are compared across face images which were presented with or without voice information. In addition we provided either an auditory emotional cue (e.g., laughter) or neutral (e.g., coughing) cue to assess whether social information affects perceived attractiveness. Results shows that multisensory information about a person can increase attractiveness ratings, but that the emotional content of the cross-modal information can effect preference for some faces over others.

Affiliations: 1: Trinity College Dublin, School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, IE

Major findings in attractiveness such as the role of averageness and symmetry have emerged primarily from neutral static visual stimuli. However it has increasingly been shown that ratings of attractiveness can be modulated within unisensory and multisensory modes by factors including emotional expression or by additional information about the person. For example, previous research has indicated that humorous individuals are rated as more desirable than their non-humorous equivalents (Bressler and Balshine, 2006). In two experiments we measured within and cross-sensory modulation of the attractiveness of unfamiliar faces. In Experiment 1 we examined if manipulating the number and type of expressions shown across a series of images of a person influences the attractiveness rating for that person. Results indicate that for happy expressions, ratings of attractiveness gradually increase as the proportional number of happy facial expressions increase, relative to the number of neutral expressions. In contrast, an increase in the proportion of angry expressions was not assocated with an increase in attractiveness ratings. In Experiment 2 we investigated if perceived attractiveness can be influenced by multisensory information provided during exposure to the face image. Ratings are compared across face images which were presented with or without voice information. In addition we provided either an auditory emotional cue (e.g., laughter) or neutral (e.g., coughing) cue to assess whether social information affects perceived attractiveness. Results shows that multisensory information about a person can increase attractiveness ratings, but that the emotional content of the cross-modal information can effect preference for some faces over others.

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1. Bresler E. R. , Balshine S. ( 2006). "The influence of humour on desirability", Evolution and Human Behaviour Vol 27, 2939. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.06.002
http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x647126
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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x647126
2012-01-01
2016-12-08

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