The effects of male age and physical appearance on evaluations of attractiveness, social desirability and resourcefulness

Arthur H. Perlini1, Angela Marcello2, Samantha D. Hansen3, Ward Pudney4
1Algoma University College, Canada
2Laurentian University, Canada
3University of Waterloo, Canada
4Raytheon Industries Inc., Canada
Cite this article:  Perlini, A. H., Marcello, A., Hansen, S. D., & Pudney, W. (2001). The effects of male age and physical appearance on evaluations of attractiveness, social desirability and resourcefulness. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29(3), 277-288.

Volume 29 Issue 3 | e1088 | Published: May 2001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2001.29.3.277

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Younger women are perceived as possessing a host of socially desirable attributes, some of which are the same traits attributed to attractive women (Perlini, Bertolissi, & Lind, 1999). Evolutionary hypotheses would not predict similar patterns of trait ascriptions for males who differ in age and attractiveness, since neither youth nor beauty is a successful strategy for mate selection amongst females. To test this hypothesis, young and elderly females rated the traits of attractiveness, social desirability, and resourcefulness in 1 of 4 target males who varied in age and attractiveness. The results indicated that neither the age nor the attractiveness of the male target influenced ascriptions of socially desirable traits. Young, compared to elderly, judges ascribed more resourcefulness to the male targets. Regardless of the target age, the younger female judges rated the target males as younger looking, in terms of estimated age, compared to the elderly female judges. The results are discussed in terms of possible sociocultural and evolutionary factors that may be responsible for these differences.

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