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Journal Article

Facial aging, attractiveness, and distinctiveness


Vetter,  T
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Deffenbacher, K., Vetter, T., Johanson, J., & O'Toole, A. (1998). Facial aging, attractiveness, and distinctiveness. Perception, 27(10), 1233-1243. doi:10.1068/p271233.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E7DB-0
A standard facial caricature algorithm has been applied to a three-dimensional (3-D) representation of human heads, those of Caucasian male and female young adults. Observers viewed unfamiliar faces at four levels of caricature -- anticaricature, veridical, moderate caricature, and extreme caricature -- and made ratings of attractiveness and distinctiveness (experiment 1) or learned to identify them (experiment 2). There were linear increases in perceived distinctiveness andlinear decreases in perceived attractiveness as the degree of facial caricature (Euclidean distance from the average face in 3-D-grounded face space) increased. Observers learned to identify faces presented at either level of positive caricature more efficiently than they did with either uncaricatured or anticaricatured faces. Using the same faces, 3-D representation, and caricature levels, O'Toole, Vetter, Volz, and Salter (1997, Perception 26 719 - 732) had shown a linear increase in judgments of face age as a function of degree of caricature. Here it is concluded that older-appearing faces are less attractive, but more distinctive and memorable than younger-appearing faces, those closer to the average face.