Psychologists reveal the secret of successful wooing

Feb 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new University of Sussex study shows that,without being consciously aware, we change our judgment of a person's attractiveness based on what they do, not their physical characteristics.

Psychologist Dr Beena Khurana set up an experiment in which participants first rated the attractiveness of a set of faces presented on a computer screen. They were then asked to detect the presence of a target dot that appeared on either the left or right side of the screen. Before the target appeared, either a male or female face appeared looking either to the left or right. Participants were told to ignore the faces, but were later asked to rate faces for attractiveness again.

The results showed that faces of the opposite sex were more effective at directing participants' attention. In other words, women pay more attention to where men look and vice versa. The faces that gave accurate cues as to where the target dot appeared increased in attractiveness, but significantly more for the opposite sex.

Dr Khurana says: "The more traditional finding is that the more we find a face attractive the more we pay attention to it. Here we show that we can cause a face to become attractive as a function of the way it behaves. Note that we changed attractiveness ratings after one simple session of eye gaze cueing, so imagine what must be going on in real encounters. We think that perceived attractiveness is both dynamic and responsive to the behaviour of people."

Dr Khurana co-authored the study with Sussex psychologists Ruth Habibi (DPhil student), Joanna Po (undergraduate project student) and Dr Daniel Wright. The paper,' Jane versus John: Facial evaluation as a function of informative eye gaze' is published in the journal, Social Cognition, February 2009.

Provided by University of Sussex

Explore further: Early exposure to antidepressants affects adult anxiety and serotonin transmission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Thinking outside the box

Dec 16, 2014

Natural habitats are changing at ever-faster rates. Can wildlife cope? And what can humans learn from their responses? A range of research projects at Glasgow examining wildlife in country and city environments ...

Police question Uber after India rape allegation

Dec 09, 2014

Indian police questioned an Uber executive Tuesday about the company's claim it conducts comprehensive background checks and a top official called for the taxi-booking service to be banned nationwide after ...

Nestling birds struggle in noisy environments

Oct 29, 2014

Unable to fly, nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection: vocal communication between parents and offspring helps young birds to determine when they should beg for food and when they should crouch ...

GoPro gearing up to share more of its users' videos

Oct 10, 2014

For years, thrill seekers have worn GoPro video cameras to capture hair-raising skydiving, motorcycle racing and snowboarding footage from a first-person point of view. They've documented up-close and personal encounters ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.