Face inversion increases attractiveness

Helmut Leder, Juergen Goller*, Michael Forster, Lena Schlageter, Matthew A. Paul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Assessing facial attractiveness is a ubiquitous, inherent, and hard-wired phenomenon in everyday interactions. As such, it has highly adapted to the default way that faces are typically processed: viewing faces in upright orientation. By inverting faces, we can disrupt this default mode, and study how facial attractiveness is assessed. Faces, rotated at 90 (tilting to either side) and 180°, were rated on attractiveness and distinctiveness scales. For both orientations, we found that faces were rated more attractive and less distinctive than upright faces. Importantly, these effects were more pronounced for faces rated low in upright orientation, and smaller for highly attractive faces. In other words, the less attractive a face was, the more it gained in attractiveness by inversion or rotation. Based on these findings, we argue that facial attractiveness assessments might not rely on the presence of attractive facial characteristics, but on the absence of distinctive, unattractive characteristics. These unattractive characteristics are potentially weighed against an individual, attractive prototype in assessing facial attractiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume178
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Distinctiveness
  • Face inversion
  • Facial attractiveness
  • Facial features
  • Rotation
  • Unattractiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Face inversion increases attractiveness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this