Archive for December, 2010

Is Beauty More Rewarding for Men II?

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been too long since I have made regular postings to the Beauty Blog.  I am happy to report that I am back and ready to go!  Just to get started, I have decided that every so often I will be revisiting the topics of earlier postings, emphasizing how subsequent research supports – and does not support – the original posting. My first posting for this blog, Is Beauty More Rewarding for Men?, focused on a study that found that the medial orbital frontal cortex was more active in men than in women when viewing beautiful faces (Cloutier,, 2008). Subsequent research suggests the following:

  • one study found increased mofc activity while viewing attractive faces when compared to non-attractive faces, but sex differences in mofc activity were not reported (Tsukiura & Cabeza, 2010)
  • several studies continue to find mofc activity when appetitive items are presented (e.g., Plassmann, 2010)

The possibility that increased mofc activity is a characteristic of the human male response to beautiful faces is less likely now than in 2008. There does continue to be research that supports some notion of an appetitive function to mofc activity (though, see Smith & Huettel, 2010 for a review of methodological issues related to this type of research).

Wayne Hooke

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. Cloutier, J., Heatherton, T., Whalen, P., & Kelley, W. (2008). Are Attractive People Rewarding? Sex Differences in the Neural Substrates of Facial Attractiveness Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20 (6), 941-951 DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2008.20062

Plassmann H, O’Doherty JP, & Rangel A (2010). Appetitive and aversive goal values are encoded in the medial orbitofrontal cortex at the time of decision making. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30 (32), 10799-808 PMID: 20702709

Smith, D., & Huettel, S. (2010). Decision neuroscience: neuroeconomics Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1 (6), 854-871 DOI: 10.1002/wcs.73

Tsukiura T, & Cabeza R (2010). Shared brain activity for aesthetic and moral judgments: implications for the Beauty-is-Good stereotype. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience PMID: 20231177

Categories: Neuroscience