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Logo of iperceptioni-Perception
Iperception. 2011 May; 2(4): 246.
Published online 2011 May 1. doi:  10.1068/ic246
PMCID: PMC5393658

The Effect of Attractiveness on Recognition Memory when Women Look at Female Faces


In previous studies, the relationship between facial attractiveness and memory has been inconsistent. We investigated the effect of facial attractiveness on recognition memory in terms of gender and judgment contents. Both female and male facial images were judged for their attractiveness and personal character, and incidental memory was tested later. Recognition performance was shown as d' and analyzed with 2 (participant's gender) x 2 (condition of attractiveness) ANOVA. The interaction was significant for female faces but not for male faces. It is, therefore, suggested that the difference of gender affects the recognition memory concerning facial attractiveness. In particular, attractiveness of female faces had different effects for female participants when compared to other combinations. As a control, the interaction for female faces was not significant when the task was to judge the physical features such as the size of eyes and the angle of mouth. In sum, unattractive faces were better recognized than attractive faces in general except for the case when women judged attractiveness of female faces. These results suggest that there may be an effect of attention to attractiveness on recognition memory that is particularly strong when women look at female faces.

Articles from i-Perception are provided here courtesy of SAGE Publications