Women More Forgiving Towards Attractive Men: Study

The halo and devil effect often comes into play when people view others\' profiles on online dating sites.

Published: 29th May 2015 12:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2015 12:33 AM   |  A+A-


WASHINGTON: Women are a lot more likely to put up with misbehaviour in a man if he is attractive, a new study has found.

Researchers at the Eastern Kentucky University in the US found that a woman's view of a man is influenced by how handsome and law-abiding he is.

In what is called the "halo effect," people warm up to others with positive characteristics, such as handsomeness.

The "devil effect" or "negative halo effect" comes into play when people assume that others possess so-called "bad" characteristics, based on traits such as unattractiveness.

Jeremy Gibson and Jonathan Gore tested if and how levels of attractiveness and conforming to social norms combine to influence 170 college women's perceptions of men.

"Two male faces - one attractive, the other not - bearing similar features were paired in two written scenarios. In the one, the man committed a major social no-no, in the other not," researchers said.

The researchers found that whether a man transgressed a social norm was a much greater put-off than whether he was unattractive. Normally women do not feel differently towards a homely man who toes the line.

If that same unattractive person, however, transgresses the boundaries of right or wrong, a magnified or "double" devil effect comes into play.

He is then viewed in an extremely negative light, much more so than would have been the case if he were handsome.

"The unattractive male is tolerated up to a point; his unattractiveness is OK until he misbehaves," said Gibson.

The halo and devil effect often comes into play when people view others' profiles on online dating sites.

Based on their results, Gibson and Gore believe that unattractive men who provide unusual or alarming information in their profiles may not receive a second glance from women.

This will not be the case for an attractive men posting the same information, or unattractive ones who do not violate these norms.

The study was published in Springer's journal Gender Issues.


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