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Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain$
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Joseph P. Huston, Marcos Nadal, Francisco Mora, Luigi F. Agnati, and Camilo José Cela Conde

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670000

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670000.001.0001

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Neural mechanisms for evaluating the attractiveness of faces

Neural mechanisms for evaluating the attractiveness of faces

(p.111) Chapter 6 Neural mechanisms for evaluating the attractiveness of faces
Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain

Spas V. Getov

Joel S. Winston

Oxford University Press

The human face carries a wealth of visual information, including features guiding social interaction, for example to influence mate choice or guide aesthetic valuation of others. Facial attractiveness is predictive of success in many domains of social life and its evaluation has accordingly been studied across a range of disciplines, including neurobiology. This chapter focuses on critical appraisal of studies that have used functional brain imaging technologies, discussing what their use has revealed about the brain structures and networks involved in evaluation of facial attractiveness. Findings relating to involvement of the brain’s visual and reward processing systems, attractiveness evaluation in a social context, the temporal dynamics of attractiveness evaluation, and gender-specific mechanisms are discussed. Finally, special emphasis is given to parallels that can be drawn between neural mechanisms of facial attractiveness evaluation and neural mechanisms of aesthetic evaluation more generally.

Keywords:   facial attractiveness, fMRI, EEG, reward, vision, neuroimaging

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