ERIC Number: ED351661
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
The Perceived Relationship between Physical Attractiveness and Social Influence Effectiveness.
Longo, Laura C.; Ashmore, Richard D.
The power of beauty has been contemplated by writers, poets, and philosophers for centuries. The link between the target physical attractiveness and perceived social influence effectiveness has not been directly and systematically investigated. The goal of this study was to assess whether physically attractive (versus unattractive) individuals are perceived as possessing different amounts and types of interpersonal power. Data was collected from 87 male and 139 female undergraduates. A questionnaire examined social-influence related impressions of the target, and three hypothesized mediating variables in the physical attractiveness-social influence relationship, including interpersonal attraction, identification, and social skills. This study extended previous research on the physical attractiveness stereotype into the domain of perceived interpersonal power. Correspondingly, the obtained results extended the conclusion "what is beautiful is good" to "what is beautiful is good--at getting others to do what he wants." The moderate inferential relationship between physical attractiveness and social influence effectiveness obtained in the present investigation is consistent with historical and anecdotal "evidence" that suggested that the power of beauty does exist. Identification with, and more strongly, perceptions of the targets' social skills were found to mediate the perceived link between looks and social influence effectiveness. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).