Attractiveness as a result of having certain personality traits


One hundred forty-four undergraduates ranked five persons described by four adjectives, some persons being described by more favorable and some by less favorable adjectives. Half of the questionnaires merely presented the adjectives in an impersonal way; the other half presented the adjectives as personal self-references made by the individuals in question. Favorable vs unfavorable adjectives produced a large effect (F = 788.83, df = 4/568, p >.001). Personal vs impersonal presentation had no apparent effect (F =.94, df = 4/258, n.s.). The results suggest a simple technique for increasing popularity and, possibly, self-esteem.


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Correspondence to Jan Spivey.

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The first author carried out the study while enrolled in a directed research course under the direction of the second author.

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Spivey, J., Wilson, W. Attractiveness as a result of having certain personality traits. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 1, 229–230 (1973).

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  • Good Impression
  • Person Reference
  • Person Description
  • Source Person
  • Hypothetical Person