Infants' neural processing of facial attractiveness



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The relationship between infants’ neural processing of and visual preferences for attractive and unattractive faces was investigated through the integration of event-related potential and preferential looking methods. Six-month-olds viewed color images of female faces previously rated by adults for attractiveness. The faces were presented in contrasting pairs of attractiveness (attractive/unattractive) for 1.5-second durations. The results showed that compared to attractive faces, unattractive faces elicited larger N290 amplitudes at left hemisphere electrode sites (PO9) and smaller P400 amplitudes at electrode sites across both hemispheres (PO9 and PO10). There were no significant differences between infants’ overall looking times based on attractiveness, however, a significant relationship was found between amplitude and trial looking time; larger N290 amplitudes were associated with longer trial looking times. The results suggest that compared to attractive faces, unattractive faces require greater cognitive resources and longer initial attention for visual processing.