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J Soc Psychol. 2010 May-Jun;150(3):301-18. doi: 10.1080/00224540903365414.

Physical attractiveness biases in ratings of employment suitability: tracking down the "beauty is beastly" effect.

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  • 1University of Colorado, Denver, School of Business, P.O. Box 173364, Campus Box 165, Denver, CO 80217, USA.


The "what is beautiful is good" heuristic suggests that physically attractive persons benefit from their attractiveness in a large range of situations, including perceptions of employment suitability. Conversely, the "beauty is beastly" effect suggests that attractiveness can be detrimental to women in certain employment contexts, although these findings have been less consistent than those for the "what is beautiful is good" effect. The current research seeks to uncover situations in which beauty might be detrimental for female applicants. In two studies, we found that attractiveness can be detrimental for women applying for masculine sex-typed jobs for which physical appearance is perceived as unimportant.

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