A1 Journal article – refereed
How facial attractiveness affects sustained attention

List of Authors: Li J, Oksama L, Hyona J
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Journal acronym: SCAND J PSYCHOL
Volume number: 57
Issue number: 5
Number of pages: 10
ISSN: 0036-5564

The present study investigated whether and how facial attractiveness affects sustained attention. We adopted a multiple-identity tracking paradigm, using attractive and unattractive faces as stimuli. Participants were required to track moving target faces amid distractor faces and report the final location of each target. In Experiment 1, the attractive and unattractive faces differed in both the low-level properties (i.e., luminance, contrast, and color saturation) and high-level properties (i.e., physical beauty and age). The results showed that the attractiveness of both the target and distractor faces affected the tracking performance: The attractive target faces were tracked better than the unattractive target faces; when the targets and distractors were both unattractive male faces, the tracking performance was poorer than when they were of different attractiveness. In Experiment 2, the low-level properties of the facial images were equalized. The results showed that the attractive target faces were still tracked better than unattractive targets while the effects related to distractor attractiveness ceased to exist. Taken together, the results indicate that during attentional tracking the high-level properties related to the attractiveness of the target faces can be automatically processed, and then they can facilitate the sustained attention on the attractive targets, either with or without the supplement of low-level properties. On the other hand, only low-level properties of the distractor faces can be processed. When the distractors share similar low-level properties with the targets, they can be grouped together, so that it would be more difficult to sustain attention on the individual targets.

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Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 16:22