Facial motion and the perception of facial attractiveness

Barbara Knappmeyer, Ian M. Thornton, Nancy Etcoff, Heinrich H. Buelthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Facial attractiveness has been extensively studied within many disciplines, such as art, anthropology and sociology. Within psychology it has usually been explored via static line drawings, photographs or computer generated pictures of faces. The faces that we see in everyday life, however, are continuously moving as we talk or laugh, for instance. Thus faces are dynamic rather than static objects varying along both spatial and temporal dimensions. While it has been well established that facial motion conveys information about gender, age, emotion and even identity, it is not clear whether it also contributes to the perception of facial attractiveness. Previously we made use of computer animation and motion capture techniques to investigate the relative contribution of facial form and facial motion to the perception of identity.Here, we use the same method to explore whether facial motion contributes to the perception of facialattractiveness. For this purpose we captured complex facial motion patterns from different human actors and applied them to an average face. Preliminary data suggests that facial motion, in the absence of individual facial form cues, can be used as a basis for attractiveness judgements. We are currently investigating the relative contribution of both cues, facial form and facial motion, to the overall impression of facial attractiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612a
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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