Award Date

May 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Murray Millar

Second Committee Member

David Copeland

Third Committee Member

Rachael Robnett

Fourth Committee Member

Peter Gray

Number of Pages

72

Abstract

Although there have been multiple studies examining the effects of physical attractiveness on a variety of human interactions, one domain has been largely overlooked. The current thesis examined the effect of teacher attractiveness on a learning task. Specifically participants were exposed to a photograph that they believed was their instructor while listening to an audio lecture. Upon completion of the lecture participants then completed a forced choice recognition task covering material from the lecture. I hypothesized that participants would perform significantly better on the learning task when they perceived their instructor to be high in physical attractiveness. Neither the gender of the instructor nor the participant was hypothesized to influence this effect. To test these hypotheses, one hundred and thirty seven participants completed measures to assess these hypotheses as well as their relationship with other variables (need for cognition, self-esteem, mate-value inventory). Consistent with my predictions, instructor attractiveness influenced participant’s ability at a learning task. Additionally gender did not influence this effect. Finally I replicated previous findings demonstrating the role attractiveness plays in person perception. These results demonstrate that physical attractiveness not only influences person perception but creates tangible effects on human performance in real world situations.

Keywords

attractiveness; learning; memory; teacher

Disciplines

Educational Psychology | Psychology | Social Psychology

Language

English


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