Do you easily warm up to attractive people and tend to judge unattractive ones?
If your answer is yes, then you are not alone. Dubbed as the halo effect, psychologists believe that first impression based on an individual’s physical appearance deeply affects how a woman see a man’s subsequent behavior.
Halo effect, which is a cognitive bias, is often observed with our overall impression of celebrities. For instance, we often perceive celebrities, who are often successful and attractive, to possess specific traits such as kind, funny, and smart.
Meanwhile, the “devil effect” or the “negative halo effect” takes place when a person assumes an unattractive person to have bad traits.
A study conducted by researchers at Eastern Kentucky University in the US determined the perception of 170 women towards men.
Psychologists Jeremy Gibson and Jonathan Gore showed two pictures of men- one attractive and one ugly- to the female participants.
The women were then presented two fictional scenarios in which they were asked to pair with each men. In one scenario, the man asked the woman to borrow a pen. In the other scenario, the man suddenly approaches the woman and asked to take her photograph.
They then asked the women to give an opinion about each scenario.
For the first scenario, the women viewed both men equally indicating attractiveness did not influence their perception on both men.
However, their perception on both men differed on the second scenario.
While the women did not consider that the attractive man did anything wrong, the ugly one was perceived to have crossed the line.
Based on their findings, Mr. Gibson concluded: “The unattractive male is tolerated up to a point; his unattractiveness is OK until he misbehaves.”
On the other hand, Dr. Gore stressed that the juror’s decision is influenced whether the defendant is attractive or not.
“If he is also unattractive, the magnified devil effect may result in a larger fine or sentence, as it could influence how negatively jurors view him and, as a result, the degree to which they believe him guilty of the crime,” he said.