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Jessie Peissig, Amanda Killian, Maedeh Mousavi; The Role of the Eyes and Makeup in Attractiveness . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):490. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.490.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The makeup industry in the United States earns billions each year, suggesting makeup plays an important role in attractiveness. Russell (2009) showed that increased luminance contrast in the eye and mouth regions of the female face lead to increased attractiveness, suggesting that makeup increases attractiveness due its ability to increase the contrast differences between those regions and the rest of the face. In this study we compared increased contrast in the mouth region, above the eye region, and below the eye region to see if the effect differed depending on where the makeup was placed. We used images of thirty individuals, shown in grayscale both with and without makeup. Thirty-two participants judged the attractiveness of this set of faces in which makeup was added to the upper eye region, directly under the eyes, or the lips. In the first experiment the original faces and the faces with makeup were shown in separate blocks to eliminate any effects of seeing the same faces with and without makeup within the same block. In a second experiment, 34 participants judged a set of faces that was chosen so that the attractiveness across conditions was equal and within a narrow range, to control for the effects of extremely attractive and unattractive faces. Both experiments showed that makeup application does affect female attractiveness ratings perceived by others. The placement of the increased contrast using makeup was critical. If makeup was applied under the eyes, attractiveness ratings were significantly lower when compared to faces with no makeup. Makeup applied to just the lips had a minimal effect on attractiveness ratings. In contrast, if makeup was applied to the upper eye region attractiveness ratings were significantly higher. These results suggest that the contrast effect on attractiveness is driven primarily by increases in contrast in the upper eye region.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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