Volume 3

The Impact of Attractiveness and Gender on Adults’ Perceptions of Children’s Social Behaviors

Andrea Flaherty & Massimo Luongo

The present experiment was designed to examine the effects of attractiveness on perceptions of children, specifically evaluation of personality traits and abilities, and attribution of theft. After reading a scenario concerning a classroom theft, with one of eight photographic stimuli of attractive or unattractive male or female, 100 college students were asked to complete child ratings. Ratings revealed that attractive children were perceived to possess more positive personality traits, more interesting and varied abilities, and as less likely to commit a theft than unattractive children. Gender differences and raters’ self-esteem did not influence the child perceptions. The implications of the raters’ reluctance to evaluate a child negatively are discussed.

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