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‘When hunger makes everything better looking!’: The effect of hunger on the aesthetic appreciation of human bodies, faces and objects

Cazzato, V, Vicario, CM and Urgesi, C (2022) ‘When hunger makes everything better looking!’: The effect of hunger on the aesthetic appreciation of human bodies, faces and objects. BMC Psychology, 10 (98). ISSN 2050-7283

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Background: Research evidence suggests that physiological state of hunger might affect preference for female body weight, such that hungrier, compared to satiate, men prefer heavier body weight and rate as more attractive heavier female figures. Here, we seek to extend these findings by comparing the effects of fasting and snack on aesthetics judgements of the bodies and faces of conspecifics and of objects in a sample of female and male participants. Methods: Forty-four participants (women: n = 21, mean age = 23.70 yrs ± 0.62) provided aesthetic liking judgments of round and slim human bodies, faces and objects, under at least 12 h of overnight fasting and immediately after having eaten a snack (i.e., bananas). An anthropometric measure of adiposity (i.e., Body Mass Index, BMI) was also collected from each observer. Results: Overall, we found that participants’ aesthetic judgements were higher for slim stimuli compared to round ones. However, after fasting, participants rated round stimuli as more attractive compared to when they had a snack. This hunger-based shift in ratings not only was apparent when stimuli depicted a human body or face, but also when they depicted an object, thus suggesting a general modification of observers’ aesthetic preference related to hunger. Importantly, this effect was modulated by participants’ BMI so that only participants with a high BMI provided higher aesthetic judgements for round stimuli after fasting than after a snack. Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that both the modification of the physiological state and the individual differences in adiposity level of the observers might affect the aesthetic appreciation of the external world.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
T Technology > TX Home economics > TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply
Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: BMC
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 14:57
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2022 15:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1186/s40359-022-00807-7
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16650
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