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MD2_v3_cuteness_and_pupil.docx (1.25 MB)

Enlargement of female pupils when perceiving something cute, except for female faces

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posted on 2021-02-11, 19:49 authored by Kana KuraguchiKana Kuraguchi, Kei Kanari
It is reported that women’s pupils dilate when they see a baby; it is unclear if this pupillary response is caused by the perception of cuteness itself. Since many objects besides babies can be perceived as cute, we investigated whether the perception of cuteness, or the type of object observed, is related to pupil dilation. In the first experiment, female participants were requested to rate the subjective cuteness of greyscale pictures of objects such as animals and foods; their pupil sizes were measured. The results showed a significant positive correlation between perceived cuteness and participants’ pupil dilation. In the second experiment, participants rated the cuteness of images of female faces. Results revealed a significant negative correlation between perceived cuteness and pupil dilation. In our study, perceiving cuteness enlarged female observers’ pupils except when observing female faces. Positive reactions associated with cuteness may be premised on the existence of unconscious perceptual alterations and physical responses.


JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 17K13901


Declaration of conflicts of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interests with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Japan

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Faculty 4-yr College

Lead author institution

Otemon Gakuin University

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

This study was approved by the ethics committee of Otemon Gakuin University (Approved Number 2019-15) and was conducted in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki).


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