Abstract

In 74% of Rembrandt's female portraits, the subject's left cheek faces the viewer. However, this occurs in only 26% of his male portraits. This asymmetry is consistent with viewers' assessment of Rembrandt's left-cheeked male portraits as preferably avoided, which may indicate that aggressive dominance is governed by the contralateral right hemisphere of the brain, while the rating of left-cheeked female faces as preferably approached may indicate sexual attractiveness. Rembrandt's exposed-cheek gender difference suggests that both sexual selection and dominance are governed by the more emotionally oriented right cerebral hemisphere.

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