Beauty in a smile: the role of medial orbitofrontal cortex in facial attractiveness

J ODoherty, J Winston, H Critchley, David Ian Perrett, DM Burt, RJ Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

631 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The attractiveness of a face is a highly salient social signal, influencing mate choice and other social judgements. In this study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate brain regions that respond to attractive faces which manifested either a neutral or mildly happy face expression. Attractive faces produced activation of medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a region involved in representing stimulus-reward value. Responses in this region were further enhanced by a smiling facial expression, suggesting that the reward value of an attractive face as indexed by medial OFC activity is modulated by a perceiver directed smile. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • facial attractiveness
  • face expression
  • reward
  • orbitofrontal cortex
  • fMRI
  • DISSOCIABLE NEURAL RESPONSES
  • FRONTAL-LOBE DAMAGE
  • TEMPORAL CORTEX
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • SEXUAL DIMORPHISM
  • VISUAL NEURONS
  • REWARD VALUE
  • FACES
  • MONKEY
  • BRAIN

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