A ‘Halo’ Effect for Inference of Managerial Ability from Physical Appearance
Dwane H. Dean

Physically attractive people are assumed to have more pleasing personalities and better social skills than less attractive people (the ‘halo’ effect). Also, interpersonal skills are known to be important for managers. The present study examines the premise that, absent other information, attractive people will be perceived to have more managerial ability than less attractive people. Six color photos of male politicians were used as stimulus material. Separate groups of respondents ranked or rated the men in these photos for handsomeness and inferred managerial ability and were asked to explain their response. A ‘halo’ effect for inferred managerial ability was supported. Rank order correlation of the photos for handsomeness and managerial ability was positive and significant (p ≤ .01). Respondents seemed to first develop an affective reaction to the men in the photos, leading to inference of personality traits and then estimation of managerial ability.

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