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Eiko Shimojo, Daniela Mier, Shinsuke Shimojo; Visual attractiveness is leaky (3): Effects of emotion, distance and timing.. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):631. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/11.11.631.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Since emotion is nonselective, emotional evaluation of object may also be nonselective. In particular, attractiveness of an attended object may be affected by that of “neglected” surrounds. We reported such an implicit leakage of attractiveness from surrounding faces (FCs) to an attended geometric figure(GF) (VSS'10 (1)), or from the “neglected” FC to the hair attached to it((2)). Here, we explore effects of emotional expression and gaze direction of the FCs, and distance/timing of the surrounds on the attractiveness of the central GF.
There was a central GF surrounded by four FCs. The task was always to evaluate attractiveness of the GF on a 7-point scale. There were two different viewing instructions, assigned to two participant groups, respectively (“Ignore the FCs,” or “Examine the whole image however you want, but evaluate the GF only”). The latter group was further divided into two groups, depending on the post-hoc eye movement analysis (viewed the whole, or still neglect the FCs), and analyzed separately. We manipulated (a)relative baseline attractiveness between FCs and GF, (b)emotional expression(neutral, happy, angry), (c)gaze direction(straight, towards the center, away), (d)distance(close, far), and (e)timing(simultaneous, FCs first). Among them, (a) were randomized within block whereas (b)-(e) were assigned to separate blocks.
We found that: 1) The main effect of FC attractiveness was mostly significant. It confirms that attractiveness is indeed leaky, i.e. the “ignored” surrounding objects can modulate attractiveness of the attended. 2) There was a paradoxical relationship between how much the surrounds were explored vs. how much the attractiveness leaked from them. The more they were neglected, the more leakage was observed. 3) Emotional expressions of FCs affect the GF attractiveness, but interacting with the FC attractiveness. 4) Distance and timing both had expected effects, but interacting with the FC attractiveness. Gaze directions had only weak effects.
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