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Beauty and the Beast: The Attractiveness Bias in an Online Peer Mentoring Program

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Date Issued:
2012
Abstract/Description:
The bias against attractiveness is fairly implicit and furthermore, powerfully impacts people's subsequent impressions of and behaviors toward others (Cash, Gillen, (&) Burns, 1977; Dion et al., 1972). Pallet, Link and Lee (2010) examined the effect of various facial spatial configurations on attractiveness and found that raters rated faces as most attractive when the eye-to-mouth ratio approximated 36% of the face length (the "golden ratio"), which coincides with the measurements of an average and thus more attractive face. The present study examined the extent to which the distance of these objectively measured facial features affected mentors' perceptions of their prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s, the subsequent mentoring given to them, and the prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s' own behavior (e.g. seek feedback, request specific information).The gender composition of the mentor-prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; dyad was expected to moderate these relationships. I also examined whether, given the expected effects of facial measurements, withholding access to visual cues would affect mentor perceptions and behavior. Participants were 118 mentor/prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; dyads from a large Southeastern university who volunteered to participate in a formal online peer mentoring program. After seeing their prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s' profiles (and for those in the experimental condition, a picture), mentors chatted with their prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s once a week for 30 minutes for a total of 4 weeks. Results indicated that prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s with facial features moderately distant from the golden ratio were perceived as more similar by mentors in same-gender dyads and received greater mentoring than did prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s closest and farthest from the golden ratio. In opposite-gender dyads, however, mentors reported greater similarity toward those that were farthest from the golden ratio but provided the greatest mentoring to those closest to the golden ratio. The relationship between facial measurements and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; proactivity was moderated by whether or not their mentor had access to their picture. While prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s closest to the ratio were more proactive in the picture condition, those that were farthest from it were more proactive in the non-picture condition. Proactivity was as expected associated with greater levels of mentoring, which was ultimately related to a more fulfilled and beneficial relationship for prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s (i.e. less stress, greater self-efficacy and satisfaction). The results of this study indicate that facial measurements are associated with both differences in mentor and in prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; behavior and that the specific nature of these relationships differs as a function of gender composition. Implications for practice and theory will be discussed.
Title: Beauty and the Beast: The Attractiveness Bias in an Online Peer Mentoring Program.
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Name(s): Garcia, Carollaine, Author
Jentsch, Kimberly, Committee Chair
Jentsch, Florian, Committee Member
Fritzsche, Barbara, Committee Member
Burke, Shawn, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The bias against attractiveness is fairly implicit and furthermore, powerfully impacts people's subsequent impressions of and behaviors toward others (Cash, Gillen, (&) Burns, 1977; Dion et al., 1972). Pallet, Link and Lee (2010) examined the effect of various facial spatial configurations on attractiveness and found that raters rated faces as most attractive when the eye-to-mouth ratio approximated 36% of the face length (the "golden ratio"), which coincides with the measurements of an average and thus more attractive face. The present study examined the extent to which the distance of these objectively measured facial features affected mentors' perceptions of their prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s, the subsequent mentoring given to them, and the prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s' own behavior (e.g. seek feedback, request specific information).The gender composition of the mentor-prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; dyad was expected to moderate these relationships. I also examined whether, given the expected effects of facial measurements, withholding access to visual cues would affect mentor perceptions and behavior. Participants were 118 mentor/prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; dyads from a large Southeastern university who volunteered to participate in a formal online peer mentoring program. After seeing their prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s' profiles (and for those in the experimental condition, a picture), mentors chatted with their prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s once a week for 30 minutes for a total of 4 weeks. Results indicated that prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s with facial features moderately distant from the golden ratio were perceived as more similar by mentors in same-gender dyads and received greater mentoring than did prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s closest and farthest from the golden ratio. In opposite-gender dyads, however, mentors reported greater similarity toward those that were farthest from the golden ratio but provided the greatest mentoring to those closest to the golden ratio. The relationship between facial measurements and prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; proactivity was moderated by whether or not their mentor had access to their picture. While prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s closest to the ratio were more proactive in the picture condition, those that were farthest from it were more proactive in the non-picture condition. Proactivity was as expected associated with greater levels of mentoring, which was ultimately related to a more fulfilled and beneficial relationship for prot(&)#233;g(&)#233;s (i.e. less stress, greater self-efficacy and satisfaction). The results of this study indicate that facial measurements are associated with both differences in mentor and in prot(&)#233;g(&)#233; behavior and that the specific nature of these relationships differs as a function of gender composition. Implications for practice and theory will be discussed.
Identifier: CFE0004504 (IID), ucf:49275 (fedora)
Note(s): 2012-08-01
Ph.D.
Sciences, Psychology
Doctoral
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): facial features -- physical appearance -- objective attractiveness -- face perception -- the golden ratio -- mentoring -- career development -- e-mentoring -- socialization outcomes -- sexual attribution bias -- mentor perceptions -- protege behavior -- stereotyped attitudes -- attractiveness bias
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0004504
Restrictions on Access: campus 2016-02-15
Host Institution: UCF

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