Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Faces we don’t forget

05.02.2014
Psychologists at the University of Jena (Germany) explain how attractiveness prevents the recognition of faces

Great eyes, full lips and harmonious features: actress Angelina Jolie is in possession of all of these. That she is regarded as the epitome of female attractiveness doesn’t come as a surprise for Dr. Holger Wiese of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). “Her features combine many factors which contribute to the attractiveness of a face,” the psychologist says.


The psychologists showed photos of faces to their test subjects. During the ensuing test phase they were again shown faces and they had to decide if they recognized them.

Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU

In his research, he mostly deals with the perception of faces. ”On the one hand we find very symmetrical and rather average faces appealing,” he explains. “On the other hand, people who are perceived as being particularly attractive stand out by additional traits, which distinguish them from the average.” Apart from being attractive, features like big eyes or a distinctively shaped mouth ensure a high recognition value. “We tend to remember those faces well,” according to Wiese.

But this isn’t generally true for all attractive people – as Wiese and his colleagues, Carolin Altmann and Professor Dr. Stefan Schweinberger are showing in a new study. In the science magazine “Neuropsychologia“ the psychologists write that attractive faces without particularly remarkable features leave much less distinctive impressions on the memory (DOI: 10.1016./j.neuropsychologia. 2013.12.023). “We could show that the test subjects were more likely to remember unattractive faces than attractive ones, when the latter didn’t have any particularly noticeable traits,” Holger Wiese says.

For their research the psychologists of Jena University showed photos of faces to their test subjects. One half of the faces were considered as being more attractive, the other half as less attractive and all of them were being thought of as similarly distinctive looking. The test subjects were shown the faces only for a few seconds to memorize them. During the ensuing test phase they were again shown faces and they had to decide if they recognized them.

The scientists were surprised by the result: “Until now we assumed that it was generally easier to memorize faces, which are being perceived as attractive – just because we prefer looking at beautiful faces“, according to Wiese. But the new scientific results are showing that such a correlation cannot be easily sustained. Moreover, Wiese and his colleagues assume that the recognition in the case of attractive faces is distorted by emotional influences which exacerbate the recognition at a later time. This is suggested by evidence from the EEG-recordings during the memory tests, which the scientists rely upon in their new publication.

Additionally the Jena psychologists’ study revealed a further interesting secondary aspect: In the case of attractive faces, scientists detected considerably more false positive results. In other words: in the test phase the test persons stated that they recognized a face without having seen it before. “We obviously tend to believe that we recognize a face just because we find it attractive“, Wiese supposes.

Original Publication:
Wiese H et al.: Effects of attractiveness on face memory separated from distinctiveness: Evidence from event-related brain potentials. Neuropsychologia (2014), doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.12.023
Contact:
PD Dr. Holger Wiese
Institut für Psychologie der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Am Steiger 3 / Haus 1
07743 Jena
Germany
Phone: ++49 (0)3641 945185
Email: holger.wiese[at]uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>