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Personality manipulations: Do they modulate facial attractiveness ratings?

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This study examines the influence of personality manipulations on female facial attractiveness ratings. One hundred and twenty participants (60 males and 60 females) were randomly divided into three groups (40 per group). Prior to the experiment, all participants rated 60 facial stimuli on attractiveness. After two weeks, the participants again rated the same facial stimuli on attractiveness, when they were presented with positive, negative, or no personality information. Results showed no significant difference in attractiveness scores among the three groups during the first rating. However, during the second rating, a significant effect for each group as well as a significant interaction between attractiveness and the group were found, with the attractiveness scores of all three groups differing significantly for the faces with high, medium, and low attractiveness (positive information group > no information group > negative information group, all p < 0.05). We find that “what is good is beautiful,” with personality reflecting desired traits as facial attractiveness. This phenomenon can also be called the “halo effect.” We can thus presume that personality traits may contribute to judging facial attractiveness and that the personality traits desired in a person are reflected in facial preference.
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Personality manipulations: Do they modulate facial attractiveness
ratings?
Yan Zhang
a,b,
,1
, Fanchang Kong
c,1
, Yanli Zhong
b
, Hui Kou
d
a
Academy of Educational Science, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
b
School of Educational Science, Mianyang Normal University, Mianyang, China
c
School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China
d
Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Ministry of Education), School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
article info
Article history:
Received 15 May 2014
Received in revised form 20 June 2014
Accepted 21 June 2014
Keywords:
Facial attractiveness
Ratings
Personality
Manipulations
abstract
This study examines the influence of personality manipulations on female facial attractiveness ratings.
One hundred and twenty participants (60 males and 60 females) were randomly divided into three
groups (40 per group). Prior to the experiment, all participants rated 60 facial stimuli on attractiveness.
After two weeks, the participants again rated the same facial stimuli on attractiveness, when they were
presented with positive, negative, or no personality information. Results showed no significant difference
in attractiveness scores among the three groups during the first rating. However, during the second rat-
ing, a significant effect for each group as well as a significant interaction between attractiveness and the
group were found, with the attractiveness scores of all three groups differing significantly for the faces
with high, medium, and low attractiveness (positive information group > no information group > nega-
tive information group, all p< 0.05). We find that ‘‘what is good is beautiful,’’ with personality reflecting
desired traits as facial attractiveness. This phenomenon can also be called the ‘‘halo effect.’’ We can thus
presume that personality traits may contribute to judging facial attractiveness and that the personality
traits desired in a person are reflected in facial preference.
Ó2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Facial attractiveness reflects inner beauty, that is, spiritual and
moral beauty. The beauty-is-good stereotype (Dion, Berscheid, &
Walster, 1972) has been the focus of social psychological research
for more than three decades (Dion et al., 1972). The facial attrac-
tiveness stereotype illustrates that attractive individuals are
assumed to possess positive personality traits and to be morally
good (Dion et al., 1972; Langlois et al., 2000). Therefore, facial
attractiveness is positively related to socially favorable personality
traits such as friendliness, kindness, honesty, and trustworthiness
(Tsukiura & Cabeza, 2011). The attractiveness stereotype has
received extensive empirical support (Feingold, 1992). Evidence
gathered over the past 10 years has suggested that the key factors
used in judging facial attractiveness are averageness (Komori,
Kawamura, & Ishihara, 2009a,b), symmetry (Baudouin &
Tiberghien, 2004; Jones, DeBruine, & Little, 2007; Little, Burt,
Penton-Voak, & Perrett, 2001), and hormone-dependent facial fea-
tures (DeBruine, Jones, Smith, & Little, 2010; DeBruine et al., 2006;
Rennels, Bronstad, & Langlois, 2008). Although research on facial
attractiveness and health is prevalent in literature (Boothroyd,
Scott, Gray, Coombes, & Pound, 2013; Coetzee, Re, Perrett,
Tiddeman, & Xiao, 2011; Fink, Bunse, Matts, & D’Emiliano, 2012;
Gray & Boothroyd, 2012; Kramer & Ward, 2010; Marcinkowska
et al., 2014; Matthews, Rhee, Neuburg, Burzynski, & Nattinger,
2006; Reither, Hauser, & Swallen, 2009; Rhodes et al., 2007;
Stephen, Law Smith, Stirrat, & Perrett, 2009; Thornhill &
Gangestad, 2006), studies on personality attributions to facial
attractiveness remain lacking, particularly within an evolutionary
framework. Only a few studies have explored the association
between facial characteristics and personality in this domain
(Coetzee et al., 2011; Gray & Boothroyd, 2012; Jones, Kramer, &
Ward, 2012; Kramer & Ward, 2012).
Regarding facial symmetry, research has shown that people
who are facially symmetrical are emotionally healthy
(Shackelford & Larsen, 1997). This finding is based on the assump-
tion that facial symmetry is an indicator of physiological health.
Moreover, recent studies have extended and tested the hypothesis
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.033
0191-8869/Ó2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Address: Academy of Educational Science, Huazhong
University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China. Tel.: +86 151 0710
4427.
E-mail address: zhangyan1981@hust.edu.cn (Y. Zhang).
1
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Personality and Individual Differences 70 (2014) 80–84
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
that facial symmetry may be related to certain personality charac-
teristics. In one study, 121 undergraduate students were asked to
use the 44-item Big-Five Inventory to rate digital photograph tar-
gets of 16 females of various races and ages (Noor & Evans,
2003). Targets with asymmetrical faces were rated to be signifi-
cantly more neurotic, less agreeable, and less conscientious than
targets with normal faces. However, the study failed to detect an
effect of facial symmetry on facial attractiveness ratings. Similarly,
Fink et al. investigated associations between facial symmetry and
actual self-report personality assessed by using the 60-item NEO
Five-Factor Inventory among 120 undergraduate students (Fink,
Neave, Manning, & Grammer, 2005). In contrast to previous results,
the data collected from the aforementioned research confirmed
that facial symmetry is positively associated with extraversion
but significantly negatively related with agreeableness and open-
ness. In particular, neuroticism and conscientiousness are not sig-
nificantly related with facial symmetry. Furthermore, the same
authors recorded 20 female faces with varying facial symmetries
and recruited 55 Caucasian volunteers to rate the faces based on
10 adjectives by using a seven-point Likert scale (Fink, Neave,
Manning, & Grammer, 2006). The results showed that faces with
high symmetry received significantly high ratings on attractive-
ness and on some personality attributes such as sociability, intelli-
gence, and self-confidence (Fink et al., 2006). Pound, Penton-Voak,
and Brown (2007) tested the findings of Fink et al. (2006) a signif-
icant positive association between self-reported extraversion and
facial symmetry by using a landmark-based measure of facial sym-
metry in males and females. These results are inconsistent with
those of previous experiments.
Gangestad and Thornhill (2003) showed that the degree of
facial masculinity is an indicator of honesty in men. However,
Thornhill and Gangestad (2006) argued that this finding may apply
to both sexes. Furthermore, facial masculinization was found to
covary with symmetry, thus resulting in the conclusion that facial
masculinity partly reflects underlying developmental stability and
disease resistance (Fink et al., 2006; Rhode & Arriaza, 2006). How-
ever, the findings of Rantala et al. (2013) challenged the view of
masculinity-health association, which indicated that adiposity,
compared with masculinity, serves as a more important cue to
immunocompetence in female mate choice. In addition, masculin-
ized faces, in relation to high levels of androgen, were considered
to possess fewer desirable personality traits compared with femi-
nized faces (Boothroyd, Jones, Burt, & Perrett, 2007; Kruger,
2006; Penton-Voak et al., 2001). Furthermore, Koehler, Simmons,
Rhodes, and Peters (2004) provided reliable measures of asymme-
try, which are perceived to be symmetrical, and of sexual dimor-
phism, which are perceived as feminine in females and
masculine in males; however, they did not examine the relation-
ship between facial sexual dimorphism and personality.
Previous studies have examined the relation among facial sym-
metry, masculinity, perceived dimorphism, and personality, but
the results found were mixed. Fink et al. (2005) showed that facial
symmetry contributes to personality attributes but they did not
consider other attractiveness factors, which hinders direct compar-
isons. Moreover, such associations may arise if perceived attrac-
tiveness covaries with other facial traits (such as averageness,
masculinity, and perceived dimorphism) that drive personality
attributions rather than if symmetry directly drives these attribu-
tions (Scheib, Gangestad, & Thornhill, 1999). Rhodes et al. found
that averageness, symmetry, and masculinity were all significant
components of attractiveness, as rated from videos (Rhodes et al.,
2011). Furthermore, existing studies have investigated whether
facial attractiveness contributes to personality, but only a few
studies have explored whether personality contributes to facial
attractiveness because the effects are considered reciprocal.
Therefore, the present study explored whether integral facial
attractiveness, rather than one kind of traits (such as symmetry,
averageness, or dimorphism), is affected by personality informa-
tion. We hypothesized that facial attractiveness is significantly
affected by personality information. In particular, the rating scores
on facial attractiveness were evaluated by following positive per-
sonality words in contrast to without personality words. Moreover,
the rating scores on facial attractiveness were reduced by follow-
ing negative personality words in contrast to without personality
words.
2. Methods
2.1. Participants
The participants comprised 120 volunteers (60 males and 60
females) between 19 and 22 years old from native Chinese Han
in a university. Each participant signed an informed consent before
the procedure was fully explained. Participants were given small
tokens for their participation. All participants were right-handed
and had normal vision, with no self-reported history of neurologi-
cal or psychiatric disorder.
2.2. Stimuli
We collected 845 photographs of unfamiliar Chinese female
faces (approximately 20–30 years of age) with neutral emotional
expression from the Google database. Standardized facial stimuli
was validated from a recent study (Zhang et al., 2011), with 60
facial images (including 20 each with high, medium, and low
attractiveness) selected as experimental stimuli. Personality attri-
butes were also selected from a standardized personality word
pool (Kong, Zhang, & Chen, 2012). A total of 30 words were selected
to describe positive personality traits (e.g., decent, honest),
whereas the remaining 30 were selected to describe negative per-
sonality traits (e.g., evil, mean). The ratings demonstrated excellent
reliability (Cronbach’s alpha was 0.857 for positive personality
traits, and 0.869 for negative personality traits) by a sample of
125 college students. The visual stimuli was 2-character Chinese
words above the facial images.
2.3. Procedure
The participants were randomly divided into three groups, with
first group 18 boys, 22 girls (age ranges from 19 to 22 years old),
second group 21 boys, 19 girls (age ranges from 19 to 21 years
old), and third group 21 boys, 19 girls (age ranges from 19 to
22 years old). Prior to the experiment, all the participants rated
the 60 facial stimuli from 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) in terms of
attractiveness. Each trial began with a fixation cross (300 ms),
and the target stimulus (800 ms), followed by a 300-ms clear
screen, and finally followed by a 1500-ms responded screen.
After two weeks, the participants again rated the same 60 facial
stimuli from 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest). However, one of three con-
ditions (positive personality, negative personality, or no informa-
tion) was assigned to each group before the second rating. Two
words belonging to either the positive or negative personality
traits were randomly selected from the personality word pool to
describe the personality of each facial image before the partici-
pants rated the facial stimuli. The facial stimuli were then
randomly presented within two rating processes.
2.4. Statistical analyses
Data were analyzed using SPSS 17.0 for windows (SPSS Inc, Chi-
cago, Illinois). The repeated-measure ANOVA was conducted to
Y. Zhang et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 70 (2014) 80–84 81
compare the rating scores on facial attractiveness, with group
(positive/negative/no information) and gender (male/female) as
between factors, and attractiveness (high/medium/low) as a within
factor. For all analyses, p-values were corrected for deviation from
sphericity according to the Greenhouse–Geisser method. The
results section reports the main effects and interactions, based
on the main hypothesis of the study. Bonferroni post hoc test
was conducted when the main effect was significant, and simple
effect test was performed when the interaction effect was
significant.
3. Results
A repeated-measure ANOVA to analyze the attractiveness
scores for the first time rating (ANOVA values are presented in
Table 1). There was a significant main effect for attractiveness.
Bonferroni post hoc test revealed that the attractiveness scores dif-
fered significantly [high (3.83 ± 0.03) > medium (3.62 ± 0.02) > low
(3.45 ± 0.02)] (all p< 0.001). However, there was no significant
effect for gender or group, and no significant attractiveness gen-
der group interaction.
A repeated-measure ANOVA to analyze the mean differences on
attractiveness scores for the second time rating (ANOVA values are
presented in Table 1). There was a significant main effect for attrac-
tiveness. Bonferroni post hoc test revealed that the attractiveness
scores differed significantly [high (3.83 ± 0.03) > medium
(3.62 ± 0.02) > low (3.45 ± 0.02)] (all p< 0.001). Specially, a signifi-
cant main effect for group was found. Bonferroni post hoc test
revealed that the attractiveness scores of all three groups differed
significantly [positive group (5.18 ± 0.14) > no information group
(4.44 ± 0.14) > negative group (3.10 ± 0.14)] (all p< 0.001). There
also was a significant attractiveness group interaction. Simple
effect analysis revealed that attractiveness scores of all three
groups differed significantly for high, medium, and low attractive
faces (positive group > no information group > negative group, all
p< 0.05). Furthermore, a paired-t test to compare the differences
of attractiveness scores between the first time rating and the sec-
ond time rating. It showed that the differences were significant
on positive group (first time rating < the second time rating, all
p< 0.05) and negative group (first time rating > the second time
rating, all p< 0.05) (see Fig. 1).
4. Discussion
Meta-analyses indicate that attractive children and adults are
judged more positively than unattractive children and adults, even
by those who know them, and that attractive children and adults
exhibit more positive behaviors and traits than unattractive chil-
dren and adults (Langlois et al., 2000). However, we hypothesized
that personality trait manipulation could influence attractiveness
ratings, with participants giving high attractiveness scores when
they were presented with positive personality information about
a target and low attractiveness scores when they were presented
with negative personality information. Our results suggest that
the personality of an individual may affect his or her facial attrac-
tiveness evaluation and that personality correlates with facial
attractiveness. Positive personality characteristics can increase
perceptions of physical attractiveness, which is in line with exist-
ing research, e.g., Kniffin and Wilson (2004). A meta-analytic
review of research on physical attractiveness stereotype also sug-
gested that the subjects in such studies ascribed more favorable
personality traits and more successful life outcomes to attractive
targets than to unattractive targets (Eagly, Makhijani, Ashmore, &
Longo, 1991). These findings shed new light on the ‘‘what is beau-
tiful is good’’ stereotype. Furthermore, Little, Burt, and Perrett
(2006) found that if a trait is desired, then faces perceived to pos-
sess such a trait are considered more attractive than faces that do
not possess such a trait. Thus, possessing desirable personality
traits may be a factor in making a face attractive, and the person-
ality desired in a partner is reflected in face preference. We find
that ‘‘what is good is beautiful,’’ with personality reflecting desired
traits as facially attractive. This phenomenon has also been called
the ‘‘halo effect’’ (Zebrowitz & Franklin, 2014).
Researchers have recently explored the relationships between
attractiveness and personality. A number of findings suggest posi-
tive associations between attractiveness and socially desirable
characteristics in individuals (e.g., facial attractiveness, olfactory
attractiveness, auditory attractiveness, and dancing ability)
(Pound et al., 2007). However, most studies have only explored
whether attractiveness is a predictive factor of good personality
traits. The major contribution of this study is the finding that per-
sonality characteristics may be linked to facial attractiveness, such
that positive personality characteristics can promote facial attrac-
tiveness, whereas negative personality characteristics can reduce
facial attractiveness.
The putative mechanisms underlying the associations between
personality traits and facial attractiveness remain unclear. One
possibility relates to the effect of physiology on the developmental
processes of the face and on the sex-dependent aspects of person-
ality. For example, hormones (i.e., testosterone and estrogen) can
affect growth rates and facial proportions (Gangestad &
Thornhill, 2003). It suggests that asymmetry and negative person-
alities should be associated more than asymmetry and positive
personality. However, this requires further study. Another possible
explanation for this outcome is the mere exposure effect
(Bornstein, 1989), by which people show less favorable attitudes
toward novel stimuli than toward stimuli that they encounter fre-
quently. The participants may have attributed traits that are not
too favorable to asymmetrical, abnormal, or unfamiliar faces
because they undoubtedly have less exposure to asymmetrical or
abnormal faces than to normal faces. Attractive faces frequently
presented on TV or magazines carry a strong social-desirability
connotation, which leads us to believe that facial attractiveness
Table 1
ANOVA examining attractive rating scores by group and participant gender.
Source 1st round of ratings 2nd round of ratings
df F p
g
2
df F p
g
2
Attractiveness 1.95 102.256 .000 .473 1.61 101.504 .000 .471
Attractiveness gender 1.95 2.627 .076 .023 1.61 1.953 .154 .017
Attractiveness group 3.90 1.636 .168 .028 3.21 2.810 .037 .047
Attractiveness gender group 3.90 1.362 .249 .023 3.21 1.395 .244 .024
Within-group error 221.87 182.93
Gender 1 .058 .811 .001 1 2.207 .140 .019
Group 2 .291 .748 .005 2 54.867 .000 .490
Gender group 2 .659 .519 .011 2 .351 .705 .006
Between-group error 114 114
82 Y. Zhang et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 70 (2014) 80–84
has an interactive effect on personality impressions. Thus, people
who are frequently judged to have a positive personality, either
those with good conduct, or those who are virtuous or honest,
are also judged to be facially attractive.
Future work should also explore whether the differential effects
of facial attractiveness, as well as other moderators, including
social status and age, exist across race. Although several studies
have explored facial attractiveness perception differences among
various race or gender groups (Lewis, 2012; Yamamoto, Ariely,
Chi, Langleben, & Elman, 2009), personality factors were rarely
considered. Additional research is also necessary to assess the
influence of personality information on rating male targets. More-
over, the present data suggest that the findings do not only apply
to facial attractiveness ratings, but also to personality attributions.
In summary, we hope that the results of this study will broaden
our understanding of the constellation of facial attractiveness,
personality, and social desirability, which comprise the beauty-
is-good stereotype.
Our findings suggest that human preferences for faces are
shaped by adaptive mechanisms, which are driven by the interest
of good quality. In humans, this quality may not be restricted to
physical conditions, such as attractiveness, but may also relate to
certain personality characteristics. This finding indicates that
human interior psychological activity is related to exterior physical
feature, and that a human is the whole entity of psychology and
physiology.
5. Ethics statement
Each participant signed an informed consent before the proce-
dure was fully explained. Approval was granted by the Research
Ethics Committee of the Academy of Educational Sciences, Huaz-
hong University of Science and Technology, China. All participants
were right-handed and had normal vision, with no self-reported
history of neurological or psychiatric disorder. All the authors have
approved the manuscript and agree with submission to your
esteemed journal. There are no conflicts of interest to declare.
Acknowledgements
This research was supported and granted by Chinese National
Natural Science Foundation at Youth Project (31200787), and
Huazhong University of Science and Technology Innovation Foun-
dation at Youth Project (2014AC012) to Yan Zhang. We thank all
participants for their time and interest as well as the editor and
reviewers for their valuable feedback.
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... On the other hand, recent studies have reported that this judgment is malleable and that different individuals judge the same face differently (Y. Q. Wang et al., 2015;Thiruchselvam et al., 2016;Zhang et al., 2014). However, extant studies have not yet been able to explain why judgments of facial attractiveness are both stable and malleable. ...
... In most studies, participants are asked to learn face and behavior sentence pairs to obtain person knowledge about faces (Y. Q. Wang et al., 2015;Zhang et al., 2014). Previous studies have shown that person knowledge about faces impacts facial attractiveness in a top-down manner, and that faces that are paired with positive descriptions are perceived as more attractive (Y. ...
... Previous studies have shown that person knowledge about faces impacts facial attractiveness in a top-down manner, and that faces that are paired with positive descriptions are perceived as more attractive (Y. Q. Wang et al., 2015;Zhang et al., 2014). Zhang et al. (2014) paired positive, neutral, and negative traits with faces and found that the faces paired with positive traits were reported as being more attractive than those matched with negative traits. ...
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Judgments of facial attractiveness play an important role in social interactions. However, it still remains unclear why these judgments are malleable. The present study aimed to understand whether the retrieval of person knowledge leads to different judgments of attractiveness of the same face. Event-related potentials and learning-recognition tasks were used to investigate the effects of person knowledge on facial attractiveness. The results showed that compared with familiar faces that were matched with negative person knowledge, those matched with positive person knowledge were evaluated as more attractive and evoked a larger early posterior negativity (EPN) and late positive complex (LPC). Additionally, positive similar faces had the same behavioral results and evoked large LPC, while unfamiliar faces did not have any significant effects. These results indicate that the effect of person knowledge on facial attractiveness occurs from early to late stage of facial attractiveness processing, and this effect could be generalized based on the similarity of the face structure, which occurred at the late stage. This mechanism may explain why individuals form different judgments of facial attractiveness.
... Attractiveness stereotyping also exerts effects in the opposite direction, such that people with desirable personality traits (e.g., ability, honest, and decent) are rated more physically attractive than those without such traits (Gross & Crofton, 1977;Owens & Ford, 1978;Paunonen, 2006;Zhang et al., 2014). Further, links between physical attractiveness and real-world giving behaviors have been reported that cannot simply be attributed to the halo effect (Konrath & Handy, 2021). ...
... Our results are in line with previous research on the relationship between goodness and beauty (Gross & Crofton 1977;Owens & Ford, 1978;Paunonen, 2006;Zhang et al., 2014). Evaluations of moral character bear on evaluations of physical attractiveness, which may be underpinned by the engagement of shared neurocognitive mechanisms when making moral and aesthetic judgments. ...
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A well-documented “beauty-is-good” stereotype is expressed in the expectation that physically attractive people have more positive characteristics. Recent evidence also finds that unattractive faces are associated with negative character inferences. Is what is good (bad) also beautiful (ugly)? Whether this conflation of aesthetic and moral values is bidirectional is not known. This study tested the hypothesis that complementary “good-is-beautiful” and “bad-is-ugly” stereotypes bias aesthetic judgments. Using highly controlled face stimuli, this pre-registered study examined whether moral character influences perceptions of attractiveness for different ages and sexes of faces. Compared to faces paired with non-moral vignettes, those paired with prosocial vignettes were rated significantly more attractive, confident, and friendlier. The opposite pattern characterized faces paired with antisocial vignettes. A significant interaction between vignette type and the age of the face was detected for attractiveness. Moral transgressions affected attractiveness more negatively for younger than older faces. Sex-related differences were not detected. These results suggest information about moral character affects our judgments about facial attractiveness. Better people are considered more attractive. These findings suggest that beliefs about moral goodness and physical beauty influence each other bidirectionally.
... Individual differences have been shown in preferences for facial attractiveness (Zhang et al., 2014), especially for faces with moderate attractiveness (Han et al., 2018). For instance, individuals with high narcissism, a personalized characteristic associated with an excessively positive self-concept but low empathy or parental density (Campbell et al., 2011), tend to overestimate their attractiveness (Holtzman & Strube, 2010). ...
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Facial attractiveness judgment largely depends on the characteristics of the facial structure and the personality of the observer. However, little is known about the influence of contextual variations on facial attractiveness. In this electroencephalogram study, participants judged the attractiveness of faces presented individually or in pairs with either a higher‐attractive face (HAF) or lower‐attractive face (LAF). The attractiveness judgment rating of the target face was significantly higher when presented in pairs with HAFs or LAFs than when presented individually and was accompanied by a larger late positive complex. These results suggest that contextual faces enhance the attractiveness judgment of target faces. Microstate analyses revealed that the global field power (GFP) of state 3 was significantly correlated with the attractiveness judgment in the HAF condition whereas the GFP of state 2 was significantly correlated with the attractiveness judgment in the LAF condition. Interestingly, the GFP of state 2 mediated the relationship between narcissism and facial attractiveness judgment in the context of LAFs. Source location analyses showed that states 3 and 2 activated the superior and middle frontal gyrus, which are involved in emotion processing. Our findings suggest that facial attractiveness can be enhanced by contextual comparison with other faces, subject to personality of the observer. By using the electroencephalogram (EEG), the spatiotemporal dynamics of the brain were measured when faces were paired with high and low attractiveness faces. Our results show that the face was judged more attractive than it presents alone when it appears with others faces. Our findings contribute to the understanding of neurocognitive mechanisms and processes of facial attractiveness.
... Our results are in line with previous research on the relationship between goodness and beauty (Gross & Crofton, 1977;Owens & Ford, 1978;Paunonen, 2006;Zhang et al., 2014). Evaluations of moral character bear on evaluations of physical attractiveness, which may be underpinned by the engagement of shared neurocognitive mechanisms when making moral and aesthetic judgments. ...
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A well-documented “beauty is good” stereotype is expressed in the expectation that physically attractive people have more positive characteristics. Recent evidence has also found that unattractive faces are associated with negative character inferences. Is what is good (bad) also beautiful (ugly)? Whether this conflation of aesthetic and moral values is bidirectional is not known. This study tested the hypothesis that complementary “good is beautiful” and “bad is ugly” stereotypes bias aesthetic judgments. Using highly controlled face stimuli, this preregistered study examined whether moral character influences perceptions of attractiveness for different ages and sexes of faces. Compared to faces paired with nonmoral vignettes, those paired with prosocial vignettes were rated significantly more attractive, confident, and friendlier. The opposite pattern characterized faces paired with antisocial vignettes. A significant interaction between vignette type and the age of the face was detected for attractiveness. Moral transgressions affected attractiveness more negatively for younger than older faces. Sex-related differences were not detected. These results suggest information about moral character affects our judgments about facial attractiveness. Better (worse) people are considered more (less) attractive. These findings suggest that beliefs about moral goodness and physical beauty influence each other bidirectionally.
... instructed to rate the attractiveness of the same facial images, which were paired with one of three types of personality information (i.e., positive, negative, or no information). The results showed that the rating scores for facial images paired with positive information were significantly higher than the scores in the other two information conditions (Zhang et al., 2014). Furthermore, the effect of social information on facial attractiveness can elicit early ERP components, indicating the existence of a "good-is-beauty stereotype" (Gross & Crofton, 1977;Owens & Ford, 1978;Paunonen, 2006), and this stereotype may be a form of automatic processing (Luo et al., 2016). ...
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Ancient Chinese characters were produced using two systems, one were produced according to man-made conventions to convey abstract meanings (oracle bone script), and another were generated by outlining the shape of object (pictograph). Whether these two kinds of ancient Chinese characters elicit different aesthetic appraisals of font structure depend on the referential meaning or object? And whether this aesthetic appraisal vary by color metaphors? In this present study, participants recruited from the Han, Bai, and Yi ethnic groups were unacquainted with the ancient Chinese characters. Experiment 1a, 1b, and 1c used abstract oracle bone scripts as materials, and Experiment 2a, 2b, and 2c used concrete pictographs as materials. Across three Chinese ethnic groups, the results showed the font structure of oracle bone script or pictograph was more likely to be judged as beautiful when its referential meaning was positive or its referential object was beautiful. Whereas, when its referential meaning was negative or its referential object was ugly, the font structure was more likely to be judged as ugly. Moreover, beauty judgment was facilitated when a positive oracle bone script was presented in the ethnic preferred color, and ugliness judgment was facilitated in the ethnic disliked color. However, this modulation effect was not obvious in the aesthetic appraisal of pictograph. The results indicated that aesthetic appraisal of ancient Chinese characters may depend on the referential meaning or object, and this sense of beauty or ugliness is also modulated by the color preference and metaphors in different Chinese ethnic cultures.
... As such, it would be of high ecological validity to examine how these forms of information are processed and integrated naturally, which may also provide a window to understand the influence of face appearance on moral judgments. Second, although researchers have shown a profound interaction between facial attractiveness and moral valuation (Dion et al. 1972;Ferrari et al. 2017;Luo et al. 2016;Oosterhof and Todorov 2008;Stolier et al. 2018;Zhang et al. 2014), they seemed to focus much of their discussion on activations within reward networks, they did not further examine the possibility that perceptual responses to attractive faces might trigger the activation of these reward circuits. Third, the shared neural mechanisms between facial attractiveness and moral judgments are not enough to suggest that facial attractiveness contributes equally to different kinds of moral judgments. ...
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The judgments of moral goodness and moral beauty objectively refer to the perception and evaluation of moral traits, which are generally influenced by facial attractiveness. For centuries, people have equated beauty with the possession of positive qualities, but it is not clear whether the association between beauty and positive qualities exerts a similarly implicit influence on people's responses to moral goodness and moral beauty, how it affects those responses, and what is the neural basis for such an effect. The present study is the first to examine the neural responses to facial attractiveness in the judgments of moral goodness and moral beauty. We found that beautiful faces in both moral judgments activated the left ventral occipitotemporal cortices sensitive to the geometric configuration of the faces, demonstrating that both moral goodness and moral beauty required the automatic visual analysis of geometrical configuration of attractive faces. In addition, compared to beautiful faces during moral goodness judgment, beautiful faces during moral beauty judgment induced unique activity in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and midline cortical structures involved in the emotional-valenced information about attractive faces. The opposite comparison elicited specific activity in the left superior temporal cortex and premotor area, which play a critical role in the recognition of facial identity. Our results demonstrated that the neural responses to facial attractiveness in the process of higher order moral decision-makings exhibit both task-general and task-specific characteristics. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the essence of the relationship between morality and aesthetics.
... If an observer dislikes one characteristic of the entity, he/she will have a negative perception of other characteristics. Previous studies have applied the halo effect concept to various domains, such as psychology, social psychology, organizational behavior, and marketing (Cowan & Little, 2013;Dunham & Burt, 2011;Zhang et al., 2014). ...
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eHealth service has received increasing attention. Patients can consult online doctors via the internet and then physically visit the doctors for further diagnosis and treatments. Although extant research has focused on the adoption of eHealth services, the decision-making process from online to offline health services remains unclear. This study aims to examine patients’ decisions to use online and offline health services by integrating the extended valence framework and the halo effect. By analyzing 221 samples with online consultation experiences, the results show that trust significantly influences perceived benefits and perceived risks, while trust, perceived benefits, and perceived risks significantly influence the intention to consult. The intention to consult positively influences the intention to visit. Considering the moderating effects of payment types, the influence of perceived risks on the intention to consult is larger for the free group than for the paid group. The findings are useful to better understand patients’ decisions to use eHealth.
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The judgments of moral goodness and moral beauty objectively refer to the perception and evaluation of moral traits, which are generally influenced by facial attractiveness. For centuries, people have equated beauty with the possession of positive qualities, but it is not clear whether the association between beauty and positive qualities exerts a similarly implicit influence on people`s responses to moral goodness and moral beauty, how it affects those responses, and what is the neural basis for such an effect. The present study is the first to examine the neural responses to facial attractiveness in the judgments of moral goodness and moral beauty. We found that beautiful faces in both moral judgments activated the left ventral occipitotemporal cortices sensitive to the geometric configuration of the faces, demonstrating that both moral goodness and moral beauty required the automatic visual analysis of geometrical configuration of attractive faces. In addition, compared to beautiful faces during moral goodness judgment, beautiful faces during moral beauty judgment induced unique activity in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and midline cortical structures involved in the emotional-valenced information about attractive faces. The opposite comparison elicited specific activity in the left superior temporal cortex and premotor area, which play a critical role in the recognition of facial identity. Our results demonstrated that the neural responses to facial attractiveness in the process of higher order moral decision-makings exhibits both task-general and task-specific characteristics. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the essence of the relationship between morality and aesthetics.
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During recent years, several researchers investigated politicians' public appearances to understand the impact of their actions on voters' intentions. Despite the large body of literature surrounding the politicians' families, especially in the U.S. context, little is known about the practice and general influence of politicians taking photographs with infants and children. In this study, politicians' behavior, and especially their public appearances next to infants and children during the presidential campaigns, is evaluated. Results across different presidential campaigns (from 1924 to 2020) confirm that politicians are more likely to take pictures with infants and children the closer it gets to the actual election date. Moreover, results reveal that the different parties —Democratic and Republican— engage in this practice at different stages of the campaign, which varies their likelihood of being elected.
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Evidence exists that beautiful is seen as good: the halo effect wherein more physically attractive people are perceived to be good, and the reverse halo that good is seen as beautiful. Yet research has rarely examined the evidence linking the beautiful with the good, or the reverse, without the halo effect. We examine the relationship between physical attractiveness (beauty) and giving behaviors (good), where ratings of attractiveness are independent of giving behaviors. We use three U.S. datasets: (a) a nationally representative sample of older adults (NSHAP), (b) a nationally representative longitudinal study of adolescents (ADD Health), and (c) the 54-year Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS), to present evidence that these two characteristics (attractiveness and giving) are indeed correlated without the halo effect. We find a ‘good-looking giver’ effect–that more physically attractive people are more likely to engage in giving behaviors, and vice versa. Thus, in ecologically valid real-world samples, people who do good are also likely to look good.
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A review and meta-analysis of methodological and subject variables influencing the exposure-affect relationship was performed on studies of the mere exposure effect published in the 20 years following Zajonc's (1968) seminal monograph. Stimulus type, stimulus complexity, presentation sequence, exposure duration, stimulus recognition, age of subject, delay between exposure and ratings, and maximum number of stimulus presentations all influence the magnitude of the exposure effect. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context of previous reviews of the literature on exposure effects and with respect to prevailing theoretical models of the exposure-affect relationship. Modifications of the 2-factor model of exposure effects that increase the heuristic value of the model are described. A possible evolutionary basis of the exposure effect is discussed.