Apr 3, 2020

Transient Pupil Constriction Reflects and Affects Facial Attractiveness

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Hsin-I LiaoS. Shimojo


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 cons...Continue Reading

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