Neuroanatomical correlates of the assessment of facial attractiveness

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FRONTAL cortical damage can lead to changes in affective aspects of personality. However, the difficulty of dissociating such abnormalities from cognitive disorders has overshadowed most previous findings. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured with positron emission tomography (PET) while normal subjects were assessing facial attractiveness. Two left frontal regions showed a significant increase in rCBF while assessing facial attractiveness. The increased rCBF in the left anterior frontal cortex correlated with the overall percentage of assessments of a face as unattractive, while that in the left fronto-temporal junction correlated with the percentage of assessments of a face as attractive. These findings provide direct evidence that the left frontal regions are engaged in the assessment of facial attractiveness.

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