Changes in perceptual category affects serial dependence in judgements of attractiveness

Pik Ki Ho, Fiona N. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serial dependence refers to the assimilative pull on a judgement response to a current stimulus from that given to the preceding stimulus and has been demonstrated in low- and higher-level perceptual judgements. We tested whether serial dependence in attractiveness judgements is limited by perceptual categorization by measuring serial dependence in within-category attractiveness judgements of faces (male and female; Experiment 1), scenes (indoor and outdoor; Experiment 2), and cross-category attractiveness judgements (faces and scenes; Experiment 3). Serial dependence was evident for within-category judgements, which weakened with the increasing number of intervening trials. Interestingly, this effect on attractiveness ratings was stronger for consecutive trials of same-sex than different-sex faces but was equivalent for consecutive trials of same- or different-scene types. Furthermore, serial dependency was affected by perceptual categorization as the effect weakened when a change in category occurred across stimuli presented in consecutive trials. A serial contrast effect was also evident whereby a stimulus was rated as less attractive when preceded by an attractive stimulus from a different category. Collectively, these findings suggest that the temporal integration of aesthetic appraisal depends on the category context, with each category requiring distinct evaluation processes, and provide insight into the perceptual nature of attractiveness judgements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-580
Number of pages24
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


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