Perceived attractiveness was correlated with perceived competence and likability in a meta-analysis by Michigan State University’s Linda A. Jackson, John E. Hunter, and Carole N. Hodge.
Physically attractive people were seen as more intellectually competent.
Similarly, women who wore cosmetics were rated more highly on attractiveness, competence, likability and trustworthiness when viewed for as little as 250 milliseconds, found Harvard’s Nancy L. Etcoff, Lauren E. Haley, and David M. House, with Shannon Stock of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Proctor & Gamble’s Sarah A. Vickery.
However, when participants looked at the faces for a longer time, ratings for competence and attractiveness remained the same, but ratings for likability and trustworthiness changed based on specific makeup looks.
Trustworthiness was differentiated from attractiveness, which was seen as linked to competence, but not consistently with social warmth.
Etcoff’s team concluded that cosmetics could influence automatic judgments because attractiveness “rivets attention, and impels actions that help ensure the survival of our genes.”
Most people recognize the bias in assuming that attractive people are competent and that unattractive people are not, yet impression management remains crucial in the workplace and in the political arena.
-*Where have you seen appearance exert an influence in workplace credibility, decision-making and role advancement?
- Acknowledge Potential Employer “Concerns” about Gender, Attractiveness to Get Job Offer
- Self-Perceived Attractiveness Shapes Views of Social Hierarchies
- The Attractiveness Bias: “Cheerleader Effect”, Positive Attributions, and “Distinctive Accuracy”