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At first glance: Accessibility of the physical attractiveness stereotype

Abstract

This research investigated two related questions. First, do stereotyped attribute judgments emerge based on attractiveness information presented under severely restricted viewing conditions? Second, will similar biased judgments be obtained for the same targets when subjects are permitted unrestricted viewing time? Experiment 1 found that male and female Caucasian college students were able to differentiate between levels of attractiveness of both males and females on the basis of cue information contained in a single brief glance (100 ms) at a target. Subjects made stereotyped attribute judgments of targets' femininity/masculinity, job suitability, and cooperativeness based on this information under restricted and unrestricted (Experiment 2) conditions. Subjects' eye fixation patterns, recorded during the second experiment, revealed that men and women differed in the way they explored targets, but their differing search strategies had no significant effect on physical attractiveness stereotyping. Results suggest that perception of differential attractiveness occurs automatically with the initial encoding of sensory data.

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This article is based on master's theses completed by the third and fourth authors under the first and second authors' supervision.

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Locher, P., Unger, R., Sociedade, P. et al. At first glance: Accessibility of the physical attractiveness stereotype. Sex Roles 28, 729–743 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289990

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Keywords

  • Sensory Data
  • Related Question
  • Viewing Condition
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Viewing Time