Brain responses to facial attractiveness induced by facial proportions: Evidence from an fMRI study

H. Shen, D.K.P. Chau, J. Su, L.-L. Zeng, W. Jiang, J. He, Jintu Fan, D. Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 The Author(s).Brain responses to facial attractiveness induced by facial proportions are investigated by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in 41 young adults (22 males and 19 females). The subjects underwent fMRI while they were presented with computer-generated, yet realistic face images, which had varying facial proportions, but the same neutral facial expression, baldhead and skin tone, as stimuli. Statistical parametric mapping with parametric modulation was used to explore the brain regions with the response modulated by facial attractiveness ratings (ARs). The results showed significant linear effects of the ARs in the caudate nucleus and the orbitofrontal cortex for all of the subjects, and a non-linear response profile in the right amygdala for only the male subjects. Furthermore, canonical correlation analysis was used to learn the most relevant facial ratios that were best correlated with facial attractiveness. A regression model on the fMRI-derived facial ratio components demonstrated a strong linear relationship between the visually assessed mean ARs and the predictive ARs. Overall, this study provided, for the first time, direct neurophysiologic evidence of the effects of facial ratios on facial attractiveness and suggested that there are notable gender differences in perceiving facial attractiveness as induced by facial proportions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number35905
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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