THE IMPACT OF PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS ON ACTOR ATTRIBUTIONS FOR ACHIEVEMENT-RELATED BEHAVIOR IN WOMEN

RHODA FEIGENBAUM, Fordham University

Abstract

It was the purpose of the present study to examine the impact of physical attractiveness on attributions made by women for achievement-related behavior. Since it had been demonstrated that the divergent perspectives of actors and observers result in different patterns of attribution, it could not be assumed that physical attractiveness would have the same impact on actor attributions as it did on observer attributions.^ Subjects consisted of 106 female undergraduates enrolled in psychology courses at a state college in New Jersey. Though seven entire classes were used, only the data from females were analyzed since the focus of the study was women.^ Subjects were assigned a job applicant task which consisted of responding to two forms, namely, a Self-Evaluation Survey which yielded a measure of physical attractiveness and A Questionnaire Measure of Individual Differences Achieving Tendency which yielded a measure of achievement motivation. Additionally, subjects were asked to write an essay concerning their professional goals. A photograph of each subject was taken to increase the credibility of the study. At a second session, a folder containing the above-mentioned items was returned to each subject with a mark indicating success or failure on the task. Subjects were then asked to respond to the Post Questionnaire which required them to evaluate the importance of each of eight factors in causing their success or failure. The responses to this questionnaire were used as a measure of internality, stability, and controllability of attributions.^ Using achievement motivation as a covariate, analyses of covariance were conducted to determine if level of physical attractiveness influenced attributions women made for succeeding or failing on the simulated job applicant task. The analyses revealed that people differing in level of physical attractiveness did not significantly differ in their use of attributions to internal, stable, or controllable causes regardless of outcome.^ On the basis of these results, it was concluded that physical attractiveness did not appear to influence attributions made by actors in the same way previous evidence suggested it had influenced attributions made by observers.^ Because there was existing evidence to suggest that attribution influenced expectancy, affect and performance in achievement contexts, there appeared to be numerous educational implications of the current findings. It was, therefore, recommended that research in the area continue and be extended to include a broader range of physical attractiveness, a variety of tasks, and men as well as women. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

FEIGENBAUM, RHODA, "THE IMPACT OF PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS ON ACTOR ATTRIBUTIONS FOR ACHIEVEMENT-RELATED BEHAVIOR IN WOMEN" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8119771.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8119771

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