A dual-process account of female facial attractiveness preferences: Sexual and nonsexual routes

Robert G. Franklin, Reginald B. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study conceptualizes facial attractiveness as a dual-process judgment, combining sexual and aesthetic value. We hypothesized that holistic face processing is more integral to perceiving aesthetic preference and feature-based processing is more integral to sexual preference. In order to manipulate holistic versus feature-based processing, we used a variation of the composite face paradigm. Previous work indicates that slightly shifting the top from the bottom half of a face disrupts holistic processing and enhances feature-based processing. In the present study, while nonsexual judgments best explained facial attraction in whole-face images, a reversal occurred for split-face images such that sexual judgments best explained facial attraction, but only for mate-relevant faces (i.e., other-sex). These findings indicate that disrupting holistic processing can decouple sexual from nonsexual judgments of facial attraction, thereby establishing the presence of a dual-process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1156-1159
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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