The reason why attractive faces without particularly remarkable features leave much less distinctive impressions on the memory has been revealed by researchers.
For their research, Dr. Holger Wiese, Carolin Altmann and Professor Dr. Stefan Schweinberger of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) showed photos of faces to their test subjects.
One half of the faces were considered as being more attractive, the other half as less attractive and all of them were being thought of as similarly distinctive looking.
The test subjects were shown the faces only for a few seconds to memorize them. During the ensuing test phase they were again shown faces and they had to decide if they recognized them.
The scientists were surprised by the result: "Until now we assumed that it was generally easier to memorize faces, which are being perceived as attractive - just because we prefer looking at beautiful faces", according to Wiese. But the new scientific results are showing that such a correlation cannot be easily sustained. Moreover, Wiese and his colleagues assume that the recognition in the case of attractive faces is distorted by emotional influences which exacerbate the recognition at a later time.
The study has been published in the science magazine 'Neuropsychologia.'