Beautiful faces have variable reward value: fMRI and behavioral evidence.

Published

Journal Article

The brain circuitry processing rewarding and aversive stimuli is hypothesized to be at the core of motivated behavior. In this study, discrete categories of beautiful faces are shown to have differing reward values and to differentially activate reward circuitry in human subjects. In particular, young heterosexual males rate pictures of beautiful males and females as attractive, but exert effort via a keypress procedure only to view pictures of attractive females. Functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3 T shows that passive viewing of beautiful female faces activates reward circuitry, in particular the nucleus accumbens. An extended set of subcortical and paralimbic reward regions also appear to follow aspects of the keypress rather than the rating procedures, suggesting that reward circuitry function does not include aesthetic assessment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Aharon, I; Etcoff, N; Ariely, D; Chabris, CF; O'Connor, E; Breiter, HC

Published Date

  • November 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 537 - 551

PubMed ID

  • 11709163

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11709163

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-4199

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0896-6273

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00491-3

Language

  • eng