A theme that emerges in life is that it is advantageous to be good looking. Corroborating this observation, an expansive literature has documented the benefits of facial attractiveness on a range of explicit measures. What is not yet known, however, is whether this association between beauty and positivity also exerts an implicit influence on people's responses. That is, does the "beautiful is good" stereotype operate when attention is not explicitly directed to a person's appearance? Using a modified Stroop task, we explored this issue in the current investigation. The results revealed that facial stereotypes do indeed exert an automatic influence on people's responses, an effect that is elicited by targets of either sex and displayed by both male and female respondents. In addition, female faces elicited positive evaluative responses (i.e., female-positivity effect). We consider the implications of these findings for issues in person perception.
- SOCIAL COGNITION