Romantic Bias in Judging the Attractiveness of Faces from the Back

Abstract

People tend to assign higher attractiveness to an individual viewed from the back than head on. This tendency is pronounced when males rate the attractiveness of women. This study investigated reasons for the previously observed gender difference in this bias, focusing on the social relationship between raters (participants) and rated models (stimuli). To manipulate the assumed social relationship, we explicitly instructed participants in advance to rate the front/back view of an opposite-gender individual as a romantic partner (romance-based condition) or as a friend (friend-based condition). The back-view bias was robustly observed in both male and female raters under every condition. More importantly, male raters showed an enhanced back-view bias under the romance-based condition compared to the friend-based condition, whereas female raters showed less bias, irrespective of the assumed social relationship. We discuss these results in terms of gender differences in criteria used to form judgments of attractiveness.

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Availability of Data and Material

The data for this experiment is available at https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/DBFVGI.

Notes

  1. 1.

    We thank the reviewer for suggesting this hypothesis.

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Funding

This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science [KAKENHI Grant Number JP17K17909] to AA.

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Correspondence to Atsunori Ariga.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Written informed consent was obtained from all participants before and after the experiment.

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The program code for this experiment is available at https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/DBFVGI.

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All experimental procedures were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Hiroshima University, Japan.

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Ichimura, F., Moriwaki, M. & Ariga, A. Romantic Bias in Judging the Attractiveness of Faces from the Back. J Nonverbal Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-021-00361-7

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Keywords

  • Facial attractiveness
  • Back-view bias
  • Gender difference
  • Social cognition