Forming impressions of facial attractiveness is mandatory

Ritchie, Kay and Palermo, Romina and Rhodes, Gillian (2017) Forming impressions of facial attractiveness is mandatory. Scientific Reports, 7 . p. 469. ISSN 2045-2322

Full content URL: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-00526-9

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Abstract

First impressions of social traits, such as attractiveness, from faces are often claimed to be made automatically, given their speed and reliability. However, speed of processing is only one aspect of automaticity. Here we address a further aspect, asking whether impression formation is mandatory. Mandatory formation requires that impressions are formed about social traits even when this is task-irrelevant, and that once formed, these impressions are difficult to inhibit. In two experiments, participants learned what new people looked like for the purpose of future identification, from sets of images high or low in attractiveness. They then rated middle-attractiveness images of each person, for attractiveness. Even though instructed to rate the specific images, not the people, their ratings were biased by the attractiveness of the learned images. A third control experiment, with participants rating names, demonstrated that participants in Experiments 1 and 2 were not simply rating the people, rather than the specific images as instructed. These results show that the formation of attractiveness impressions from faces is mandatory, thus broadening the evidence for automaticity of facial impressions. The mandatory formation of impressions is likely to have an important impact in real-world situations such as online dating sites.

Additional Information:This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords:Psychology
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:33333
Deposited On:22 Oct 2018 13:01

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