The perception of attractiveness can have a significant effect on how people are judged in terms of employment or social opportunities, friendship, sexual behavior, and marriage.
Such studies consistently find that activity in certain parts of the orbitofrontal cortex increases with increasing attractiveness of faces.
This neural response has been interpreted as a reaction on the rewarding nature of attractiveness, as similar increases in activation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex can be seen in response to smiling faces While most of these studies have not assessed participants of both genders or homosexual individuals, evidence from one study including male and female hetero- and homosexual individuals indicate that some of the aforementioned increases in brain activity are restricted to images of faces of the gender participants feel sexually attracted to.
With regard to brain activation related to the perception of attractive bodies, one study with heterosexual participants suggests that activity in the nucleus accumbens and the anterior cingulate cortex increases with increasing attractiveness.
Physical attractiveness is the degree to which a person's physical features are considered aesthetically pleasing or beautiful.
The term often implies sexual attractiveness or desirability, but can also be distinct from the two.
There are many factors which influence one person's attraction to another, with physical aspects being one of them.
Physical attraction itself includes universal perceptions common to all human cultures, as well as aspects that are culturally and socially dependent, along with individual subjective preferences.
In many cases, humans subconsciously attribute positive characteristics, such as intelligence and honesty, to physically attractive people.
Evolutionary psychologists have tried to answer why individuals who are more physically attractive should also, on average, be more intelligent, and have put forward the notion that both general intelligence and physical attractiveness may be indicators of underlying genetic fitness.