Facial attractiveness is an important biological and social signal on social interaction. Recent research has demonstrated that an attractive face captures greater spatial attention than an unattractive face does. Little is known, however, about the temporal characteristics of visual attention for facial attractiveness. In this study, we investigated the temporal modulation of visual attention induced by facial attractiveness by using a rapid serial visual presentation. Fourteen male faces and two female faces were successively presented for 160 ms, respectively, and participants were asked to identify two female faces embedded among a series of multiple male distractor faces. Identification of a second female target (T2) was impaired when a first target (T1) was attractive compared to neutral or unattractive faces, at 320 ms stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA); identification was improved when T1 was attractive compared to unattractive faces at 640 ms SOA. These findings suggest that the spontaneous appraisal of facial attractiveness modulates temporal attention.
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