Race and physical attractiveness as criteria for White subjects' dating choices

Bem P. Allen1
1Western Illinois University, United States
Cite this article:  Allen, B. (1976). Race and physical attractiveness as criteria for White subjects' dating choices. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 4, 289-296.

Volume 4 Issue 2 | e139 | Published: August 1976 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1976.4.2.289

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Research involving race as a criterion for various social choices indicates that race may rival attractiveness for the determination of dating choices. This possibility was explored in 2 experiments involving “desirability for a date” ratings of black and white stimulus persons who varied in attractiveness. Experiment 1 results indicated that white male and female participants gave appreciable weight to race and attractiveness, but females gave race more weight than attractiveness, while attractiveness was given more weight than race by males. The interaction between race and attractiveness had approximately the same form for males and females: attractive black stimulus persons were lumped together with unattractive stimulus persons. Female participants in Experiment 2, who were informed about an opportunity to date a stimulus person of their choice before seeing slides of stimulus persons, tended to discount attractiveness as a criterion for choices. None of these participants were willing to accept an actual date. It was noted that race may be a stronger rival to attractiveness relative to the more abstract factors with which attractiveness has been compared, because race, like attractiveness, is highly concrete and visible.
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