Beauty and Cuteness in Peripheral Vision


Previous research suggests that attractiveness is not only detectable in the central visual field but also in the periphery. In Japan, visual “attractiveness” of people is often described in terms of beauty and cuteness (“kawaii”). We examined how perception of facial attractiveness in those two aspects can be different in peripheral vision where special resolution is deteriorated. Pairs of female face images were presented at several eccentricities, and participants judged which was better in terms of beauty or cuteness. The results showed that participants were able to judge both beauty and cuteness in the periphery. The discrimination performance, however, differed; beauty was more detectable in the periphery than in the parafovea, while cuteness was more detectable in the parafovea. This result suggests that detection of beauty might be ecologically more important for humans. Moreover, there were some gender differences, which may reflect different meaning of facial attractiveness for each gender.

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