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Facial beauty has important social and biological implications. Research has shown that people tend to look longer at attractive than at unattractive faces. However, little is known about whether an attractive face presented outside foveal vision can capture attention. The effect of facial attractiveness on covert attention was investigated in a spatial cuing task. Participants were asked to judge the orientation of a cued target presented to the left or right visual field while ignoring a task-irrelevant face image flashed in the opposite field. The presentation of attractive faces significantly lengthened task performance. The results suggest that facial beauty automatically competes with an ongoing cognitive task for spatial attention.

Original publication

DOI

10.3758/PBR.16.2.276

Type

Journal article

Journal

Psychon Bull Rev

Publication Date

04/2009

Volume

16

Pages

276 - 281

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Beauty, Cues, Face, Female, Fixation, Ocular, Humans, Judgment, Male, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Reaction Time, Visual Fields, Young Adult