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Psychology

Reward value of attractiveness and gaze

Naturevolume 413page589 (2001) | Download Citation

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  • A Correction to this article was published on 11 April 2002

Making eye contact enhances the appeal of a pleasing face, irrespective of gender.

Abstract

Faces are visual objects in our environment that provide strong social cues1, with the eyes assuming particular importance2,3. Here we show that the perceived attractiveness of an unfamiliar face increases brain activity in the ventral striatum of the viewer when meeting the person's eye, and decreases activity when eye gaze is directed away. Depending on the direction of gaze, attractiveness can thus activate dopaminergic regions that are strongly linked to reward prediction4, indicating that central reward systems may be engaged during the initiation of social interactions.

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References

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR, UK

    • Knut K. W. Kampe
    •  & Uta Frith
  2. Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, 12 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK

    • Chris D. Frith
    •  & Raymond J. Dolan

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Correspondence to Knut K. W. Kampe.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/35098149

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