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J Soc Psychol. 2005 Dec;145(6):687-702.

Attributions of guilt and punishment as functions of physical attractiveness and smiling.

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Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA.


The authors found an interaction between sex of participant and sex of defendant in the leniency bias toward a smiling defendant. Differences occurred for male participants when levying punishment for a smiling male defendant vs. a smiling female defendant and for a smiling male defendant vs. a nonsmiling male defendant, whereas differences did not occur for female participants. The authors found moderating effects of physical attractiveness and smiling between guilt and punishment. The only significant positive relationship between guilt and punishment occurred for the defendant whom participants rated low in physical attractiveness and who was not smiling. When guilty, the smiling and unattractive defendant received less punishment than did the smiling and attractive defendant. The authors discussed complex relationships between physical attractiveness, smiling, guilt, and punishment.

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