Attractiveness and Gaze

Faces are important social cues that influence our responses and interaction level. A recent study demonstrates that unfamiliar faces, depending on the level of attractiveness and gaze direction, increase or decrease brain activity in the dopaminergic regions when meeting the person’s eye.

In a study, a group of test subjects was shown images of 40 different faces with direct or averted gaze while their brain activity was scanned. It was found that when the test subjects perceived the gaze directed towards the respondents, and the face was attractive, the neurons fired at a greater speed as in the prediction of a reward.

However, the activity ceased when the photos of the same attractive face, but with averted gaze were shown: The brain interpreted that the reward associated with the attractiveness failed to materialize.

Moreover, the result was opposite when the face was unattractive: the direct gaze from an unattractive person results in reduced activity, apparently due to a disappointment, while the averted gaze of the unattractive person results in increased activity, presumably due to a experienced relief.

The results provide us deep interesting insights about the mechanism of social interactions and human responses.

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Copyright © Steinheide Oy 2019

Copyright © Steinheide Oy 2019