Rewards of beauty: the opioid system mediates social motivation in humans
Facial attractiveness is a powerful cue that affects social communication and motivates sexual behavior. Attractive people are both judged and treated more positively, reflecting the biased stereotypical notion that ‘beautiful is good’. Indeed, beautiful faces are processed by the limbic reward system and according to the same economic principles as non-social rewards. The human reward system has a high density of μ-opioid receptors, which have an important role in affiliation and attachment. Here, we causally test whether the healthy human opioid system mediates facial attractiveness preference.
Molecular Psychiatry, 2014, doi:10.1038/mp.2014.1