Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Jennifer Rennels

Second Committee Member

Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt

Third Committee Member

Murray Millar

Fourth Committee Member

Sheila Bock

Number of Pages



The current study examined the effects of perspective-taking and empathetic concern on attractiveness biases and stereotypes in Generation X and Millennial adults. Such biases and stereotypes are pervasive and can lead to preferential treatment and differential outcomes for individuals of varying attractiveness levels (see Langlois et al., 2000 for review). Previous research suggests that social media may amplify the importance placed on attractiveness, particularly for women (Fardouly et al., 2015; Perloff, 2014; Tiggemann et al., 2014; Toma & Hancock, 2018). Given the negative impacts of biases and stereotypes, this study sought to investigate pathways to reduce attractiveness biases and stereotypes while considering the effects of social media and generational cohorts. Participants (N = 143) completed the study and were assigned to either the perspective-taking, empathetic concern, or control condition. Participants completed a stereotyping task (to assess stereotypes) and a non-forced-choice attribution task (to assess bias), and measures of perspective-taking, empathetic concern, and social media addiction. We found that participants had more positive stereotypical views of attractive targets but more negative stereotypical views of unattractive targets. Results suggest Gen X adults may have more stereotypical beliefs based on attractiveness as compared to Millennials and that empathetic concern versus perspective-taking may be a more effective intervention for reducing attractiveness stereotypes for Gen X adults. In some cases, displaying unbiased responses (i.e., chose both or neither target in the attribution task) instead of exhibiting biased responses (i.e., chose the attractive target or the unattractive target) was positively related to participants’ perspective-taking and empathetic concern but negatively related to social media addiction. Future avenues for interventions with improved ecological validity aimed at reducing attractiveness biases and stereotypes across different stages of development are also discussed.



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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