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Fourier power spectrum characteristics of face photographs: attractiveness perception depends on low-level image properties.

Menzel C, Hayn-Leichsenring GU, Langner O, Wiese H, Redies C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We found that Fourier slope - in contrast to the other tested image properties - did not predict attractiveness ratings when we controlled for age.Patterns with a slope similar to those in natural scenes and artworks resulted in lower attractiveness and higher age ratings.We conclude that facial attractiveness ratings are affected by specific image properties.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Person Perception Research Unit, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany; Experimental Aesthetics Group, Institute of Anatomy I, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany.

ABSTRACT
We investigated whether low-level processed image properties that are shared by natural scenes and artworks - but not veridical face photographs - affect the perception of facial attractiveness and age. Specifically, we considered the slope of the radially averaged Fourier power spectrum in a log-log plot. This slope is a measure of the distribution of special frequency power in an image. Images of natural scenes and artworks possess - compared to face images - a relatively shallow slope (i.e., increased high spatial frequency power). Since aesthetic perception might be based on the efficient processing of images with natural scene statistics, we assumed that the perception of facial attractiveness might also be affected by these properties. We calculated Fourier slope and other beauty-associated measurements in face images and correlated them with ratings of attractiveness and age of the depicted persons (Study 1). We found that Fourier slope - in contrast to the other tested image properties - did not predict attractiveness ratings when we controlled for age. In Study 2A, we overlaid face images with random-phase patterns with different statistics. Patterns with a slope similar to those in natural scenes and artworks resulted in lower attractiveness and higher age ratings. In Studies 2B and 2C, we directly manipulated the Fourier slope of face images and found that images with shallower slopes were rated as more attractive. Additionally, attractiveness of unaltered faces was affected by the Fourier slope of a random-phase background (Study 3). Faces in front of backgrounds with statistics similar to natural scenes and faces were rated as more attractive. We conclude that facial attractiveness ratings are affected by specific image properties. An explanation might be the efficient coding hypothesis.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Stimuli used in Study 2A.Top row: Random phase patterns with different slopes (as indicated) of the radially averaged Fourier power spectrum, and a mid-grey control image. Bottom row: Stimuli used in Study 2A. The composite stimuli consists of the original face image (FACES database [59]) with the respective image of the top row superimposed at an opacity of 15% and a black oval window. Note that differences between the conditions are subtle and might be invisible due to the small size and low resolution of the images here. Images of higher resolution are provided as supplemental material (S1 Fig).
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pone.0122801.g001: Stimuli used in Study 2A.Top row: Random phase patterns with different slopes (as indicated) of the radially averaged Fourier power spectrum, and a mid-grey control image. Bottom row: Stimuli used in Study 2A. The composite stimuli consists of the original face image (FACES database [59]) with the respective image of the top row superimposed at an opacity of 15% and a black oval window. Note that differences between the conditions are subtle and might be invisible due to the small size and low resolution of the images here. Images of higher resolution are provided as supplemental material (S1 Fig).

Mentions: Stimuli. Stimuli were taken from the FACES database [59] and consisted of grey-scale digital photographs of 56 male and 54 female Caucasians who were between 19 and 55 years old (M = 36.23 years, SD = 13.09). All persons had been photographed in frontal view and had neutral facial expression with no specific features, such as glasses, extensive facial hair, ostentatious make-up, or jewellery. The images were resized to 1024 x 1024 pixels and grey-scaled. Then, faces were fitted behind a black oval window to hide hair, background and outer facial contours (similar to those in Fig 1, bottom row).


Fourier power spectrum characteristics of face photographs: attractiveness perception depends on low-level image properties.

Menzel C, Hayn-Leichsenring GU, Langner O, Wiese H, Redies C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Stimuli used in Study 2A.Top row: Random phase patterns with different slopes (as indicated) of the radially averaged Fourier power spectrum, and a mid-grey control image. Bottom row: Stimuli used in Study 2A. The composite stimuli consists of the original face image (FACES database [59]) with the respective image of the top row superimposed at an opacity of 15% and a black oval window. Note that differences between the conditions are subtle and might be invisible due to the small size and low resolution of the images here. Images of higher resolution are provided as supplemental material (S1 Fig).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4383417&req=5

pone.0122801.g001: Stimuli used in Study 2A.Top row: Random phase patterns with different slopes (as indicated) of the radially averaged Fourier power spectrum, and a mid-grey control image. Bottom row: Stimuli used in Study 2A. The composite stimuli consists of the original face image (FACES database [59]) with the respective image of the top row superimposed at an opacity of 15% and a black oval window. Note that differences between the conditions are subtle and might be invisible due to the small size and low resolution of the images here. Images of higher resolution are provided as supplemental material (S1 Fig).
Mentions: Stimuli. Stimuli were taken from the FACES database [59] and consisted of grey-scale digital photographs of 56 male and 54 female Caucasians who were between 19 and 55 years old (M = 36.23 years, SD = 13.09). All persons had been photographed in frontal view and had neutral facial expression with no specific features, such as glasses, extensive facial hair, ostentatious make-up, or jewellery. The images were resized to 1024 x 1024 pixels and grey-scaled. Then, faces were fitted behind a black oval window to hide hair, background and outer facial contours (similar to those in Fig 1, bottom row).

Bottom Line: We found that Fourier slope - in contrast to the other tested image properties - did not predict attractiveness ratings when we controlled for age.Patterns with a slope similar to those in natural scenes and artworks resulted in lower attractiveness and higher age ratings.We conclude that facial attractiveness ratings are affected by specific image properties.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Person Perception Research Unit, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany; Experimental Aesthetics Group, Institute of Anatomy I, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany.

ABSTRACT
We investigated whether low-level processed image properties that are shared by natural scenes and artworks - but not veridical face photographs - affect the perception of facial attractiveness and age. Specifically, we considered the slope of the radially averaged Fourier power spectrum in a log-log plot. This slope is a measure of the distribution of special frequency power in an image. Images of natural scenes and artworks possess - compared to face images - a relatively shallow slope (i.e., increased high spatial frequency power). Since aesthetic perception might be based on the efficient processing of images with natural scene statistics, we assumed that the perception of facial attractiveness might also be affected by these properties. We calculated Fourier slope and other beauty-associated measurements in face images and correlated them with ratings of attractiveness and age of the depicted persons (Study 1). We found that Fourier slope - in contrast to the other tested image properties - did not predict attractiveness ratings when we controlled for age. In Study 2A, we overlaid face images with random-phase patterns with different statistics. Patterns with a slope similar to those in natural scenes and artworks resulted in lower attractiveness and higher age ratings. In Studies 2B and 2C, we directly manipulated the Fourier slope of face images and found that images with shallower slopes were rated as more attractive. Additionally, attractiveness of unaltered faces was affected by the Fourier slope of a random-phase background (Study 3). Faces in front of backgrounds with statistics similar to natural scenes and faces were rated as more attractive. We conclude that facial attractiveness ratings are affected by specific image properties. An explanation might be the efficient coding hypothesis.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus