An attempt to experimentally demonstrate the attractiveness bias

Vincent, Chrissy D. (Christa Dawn) (2008) An attempt to experimentally demonstrate the attractiveness bias. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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There exists a large body of psychological research suggesting that attractive people tend to be judged and treated more favorably than unattractive people in a wide variety of social settings. Much of the research on this attractiveness bias, however, has simply relied upon natural variation to separate target individuals into groups of differing attractiveness levels. The current study sought to employ the mere exposure effect to achieve an experimental manipulation of attractiveness, thereby separating attractiveness from any covariates that may have potentially confounded it in these prior studies. Participants were exposed to pictures of target individuals while engaged in a distracting task, and later rated those same targets on attractiveness, sociability, relationship happiness, and career success. The purpose of the experiment was to investigate whether exposure frequency influenced the latter three judgments, and whether that influence was mediated by perceived attractiveness. Unfortunately, mere exposure failed to affect attractiveness ratings, so the intended analysis could not be performed. Explanations for the lack of exposure effects based on both cognitive load and classical conditioning theories are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9093
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 36-46)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 2008
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Discrimination; Interpersonal attraction; Judgement

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