The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on Perceptions of Mental Illness

Caitlin Garstkiewicz


The following study examined the influence of the Halo Effect, specifically the physical attractiveness stereotype, on perceptions of mental illness. The physical attractiveness stereotype states that individuals who are physically attractive will be attributed positive personality traits. In this study, participants were asked to view either physically attractive or non-attractive individuals while listening to a description of a mental illness attributed to the person shown in the image. It was hypothesized that participants who were presented with physically attractive images would rate the description of mental illness more positively than when viewing images of physically unattractive people. The hypothesis was not found to be statistically significant, based on the results of a three-way ANOVA. However, significant main effects of gender and mental illness were obtained such as that women were rated more positively than men, and depression was rated more positively than schizophrenia.


Physical Attractiveness, Perception, Mental Illness

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