Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

Psychology

Date of Award

5-2003

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Roger C. Bailey

Committee Members

Otto Zinser, Russell W. Brown

Abstract

Two experimental phases examined the characteristics impacting the physical attractiveness stereotype and a potential stereotype shift. From reading a description of a hypothetical target, Phase 1 of this study revealed that participants considered an overweight attractive woman significantly more likely to help a friend in need and significantly more likely to become a friend than an underweight attractive woman. These findings provide understanding of how particular stereotypes may provide social benefits. In Phase 2, knowledge of the woman's plans for liposuction, which was disclosed in a second description of the target, dramatically lowered the participants' evaluations of her physical attractiveness, willingness to help a friend in need, and likelihood as a potential friend. The women's ratings of the target's willingness to help a friend dropped significantly more than the men's ratings. These results indicate that evaluations of physically attractive women may decline if they choose to unnaturally alter their appearance.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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