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The Origins and Functions of Appearance-Based Stereotypes: Theoretical and Applied Implications

  • Judith H. Langlois

Abstract

The research literature in developmental and social psychology is replete with evidence documenting the importance of facial attractiveness in social behavior and social relations. Both adults and children prefer attractive over unattractive individuals. They attribute positive qualities and abilities to attractive individuals, negative qualities and abilities to unattractive individuals; and they behave differently toward attractive from how they behave toward unattractive persons (for reviews, see Adams, 1977; Berscheid & Walster, 1974; Langlois, 1986; Langlois & Stephan, 1981). Both adults and children use similar standards in evaluating the attractiveness of others (Langlois, 1986; Langlois & Stephan, 1977; Maruyama & Miller, 1981; Sorell & Nowak, 1981); different racial groups show substantial agreement in their attractiveness judgments (e.g., Cunningham, 1986; Kleck, Richardson, & Ronald, 1974; Stephan & Langlois, 1984); and even infants show preferences for attractive faces (Langlois et al., 1987). The preference for attractive persons, therefore, extends beyond single racial and age groups and is evident very early in life.

Keywords

Facial Expression Down Syndrome Facial Feature Physical Attractiveness Infant Behavior 
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  • Judith H. Langlois

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