Contrast effects and judgments of physical attractiveness

When beauty becomes a social problem

Douglas Kenrick, Sara E. Gutierres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

182 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Conducted 3 studies to test the hypothesis that judgments of average females' attractiveness or dating desirability will be adversely affected by exposing judges to extremely attractive prior stimuli (i.e., judgments will show a "contrast effect"). Study 1 was a field study in which 81 male dormitory residents watching a popular TV show, whose main characters were 3 strikingly attractive females, were asked to rate a photo of an average female (described as a potential blind date for another dorm resident). These Ss rated the target female as significantly less attractive than did a comparable control group. Two other studies with 146 undergraduates demonstrated analogous effects in a more controlled laboratory setting. In addition, the 3rd study indicated a direct effect of informational social influence on physical attractiveness judgments. Implications are discussed with particular attention to mass media impact. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1980
Externally publishedYes

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Beauty
social problem
Social Problems
beauty
social attraction
media impact
resident
mass media
Mass Media
stimulus
Control Groups
Group

Keywords

  • exposure to extremely attractive females on TV, judgments of average females' attractiveness, male college students, implications for mass media impact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Contrast effects and judgments of physical attractiveness : When beauty becomes a social problem. / Kenrick, Douglas; Gutierres, Sara E.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 38, No. 1, 01.1980, p. 131-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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