Attractiveness Norm Violations and the Halo Effect
This study investigated participants’ expectations that people who are low versus high in attractiveness would violate social norms. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that unattractive individuals would be rated as more likely to violate norms involving negative behavior than attractive individuals, and attractive individuals rated more likely to violate norms involving positive behaviors than unattractive individuals. To test these hypotheses, participants completed an online survey rating the likelihood that an individual depicted in a photograph would engage in norm-violating behavior. The photograph depicted either an attractive or unattractive individual. Three types of norm-relevant behaviors were described: positive, negative, and norm-conforming. The results suggest that (a) unattractive individuals were viewed as more likely to commit negative norm-violating behaviors than attractive individuals, (b) attractive individuals were viewed as more likely to commit positive norm-violating behaviors than unattractive individuals, and (c) attractive individuals were viewed as more likely to uphold norms than unattractive individuals.
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