In this episode we cover the negative sterotyping of unattractive individuals. You may have heard of the ‘halo effect’ where attractive individuals have positive attributes and traits granted to them simply by virtue of being physically attractive. As it turns out from Klebl Et al’s paper, there is evidence to suggest a similar but opposite effect happens to the unattractive parties.
Unattractive individuals are seen to be more morally ‘impure’ by the general public, i.e. more willing to perform uncleanly acts such as stepping in vomit, licking a shoe or eating moldy food (no, really) than their attractive counterparts. This in turn makes these people associated with a contamination risk that should be avoided and so it is arguably more disadvantageous to be unattractive than it is advantageous to be attractive (Griffin & Langlois, 2006). This is because humans are very disease averse and so even the slightest perception or indication of ‘uncleanly’ behaviour is justification to avoid or negatively sterotype.
Griffin, A. M., & Langlois, J. H. (2006). Stereotype directionality and attractiveness stereotyping: Is beauty good or is ugly bad? Social Cognition, 24(2), 187-206. https://dx.doi.org/10.1521/soco.2006.24.2.187
Klebl, C., Rhee, J. J., Greenaway, K. H., Luo, Y., & Bastian, B. (2021, February 26). Physical attractiveness biases judgments pertaining to the moral domain of purity. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/3bnge