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Appears in Collections:Psychology eTheses
Title: Increasing ecological validity in studies of facial attractiveness : effects of motion and expression on attractiveness judgements
Authors: Chang, Helen Yai-Jane
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: While our understanding of what makes a face attractive has been greatly furthered in recent decades, the stimuli used in much of the foregoing research (static images with neutral expressions) bear little resemblance to the faces with which we nonnally interact. In our social interactions, we frequently evaluate faces that move and are expressive, and thus, it is important to evaluate whether motion and expression influence ratings of attractiveness; this was the central aim of the experiments in this dissertation. Using static and dynamic stimuli with neutral or positive expression, the effects of motion and expression were also tested in combination with other factors known to be relevant to attractiveness judgements: personality attributions, sex-typicality and cultural influence. In general, the results from this set of experiments show that judgements of moving, expressive stimuli do differ, sometimes radically, from judgements made of more traditional types of stimuli. Motion and positive expression were both found to increase ratings of attractiveness reliably in most experiments, as well as across cultures, and in some instances, showed strong sex-specific effects. Intriguing sex differences were also found in personality trait ratings of the stimuli, particularly for male faces; while criteria for female faces remained relatively constant across all conditions, trait ratings associated with attractiveness for male faces were dependent on particular combinations of motion and expression. Finally, in line with previous research, cross-cultural experiments showed general agreement between Japanese and Caucasian raters, but also suggested slight, culture-specific differences in preferences for expression and motion. IV This set of experiments has integrated the factors of motion, expression, sextypicality, personality and cultural influence together in order to bring a greater degree of ecological validity into attractiveness studies. These findings offer major implications for researchers studying attractiveness, particularly that of males, and suggest that motion and expression are important dimensions that should be considered in future research while simultaneously placing a caution on the interpretation of findings made with static stimuli. Suggestions are also made for further research in light of the present findings
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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