Effect of Physical Attractiveness on Individuals’ Willingness to Help
NAME REMOVED TO PRESERVE ANONIMITY
Tarleton State University
From automobiles to clothing to significant others, image is important. Many
people no longer believe that physical appearance is a static characteristic, but rather an
aspect that may be manipulated to reflect a greater social desirability (Cash et al., 1988).
In a study conducted by Brown et al. (1986), this attitude was also found to influence
college students’ perceptions regarding overall physical attractiveness. When compared
to individuals that are considered to be less attractive, physically attractive people tend to
receive more attention (Kleck & Rubenstein, 1975), have a better love life (Berscheid &
Walster, 1974), and be viewed as more intelligent (Clifford & Walster, 1973). In
addition, several studies have found that physical attractiveness greatly influences an
observers’ willingness to help (West & Brown, 1975; Benson et al., 1976; Wilson, 1978).
However, very few of these investigations have targeted a specific type of location or
In today’s society of reality show makeovers, fad diets, and fashion trends,
students on university campuses are consistently exposed to these influences. Therefore,
the current study was designed to assess the effects of physical appearance on
individuals’ desire to help a female in need on a college campus.
Purpose & Hypothesis
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect that physical appearance has
on an individual’s motivation to help a female in a time of need. The null hypothesis for
this study was:
There will be no significant difference between the amount of assistance received
by an unattractive female and the amount of assistance received by an attractive female.
This study utilized a post-test only control group design, due to its randomized
sample and presence of a control group. The population for this study included all
students, faculty, and visitors present at Tarleton State University during the time of this
experiment. Participants were randomly selected and exposed to either the treatment
(unattractive female) or the control (attractive female).
For this experiment, a female member of the A ED 598 Philosophy, Interpretation
and Application of Research class assumed the characteristics of a physically unattractive
and attractive college female. The first day she appeared as an unattractive female with
Quality of Writing: A
Kyle W. McGregor 12/17/06 11:56 PM
Kyle W. McGregor 12/18/06 12:01 AM
Awesome Writing! Extremely
well-developed thoughts and flow.