Perception of Physical Attractiveness: Mechanisms Involved in the Maintenance of Romantic Relationships

Jeffry A. Simpson, Steven W. Gangestad, Margaret Lerma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2 studies, factors involved in the perception of attractiveness of opposite-sex persons were examined. Investigation 1 revealed that individuals involved in dating relationships, relative to those not involved in them, tend to perceive opposite-sex persons as less physically and sexually attractive. Investigation 2 revealed that this dating status effect was not attributable to differences in physical attractiveness, self-esteem, empathy, self-monitoring, or altruism between individuals who were and those who were not involved in exclusive dating relationships. Moreover, both groups perceived young/same-sex and older/opposite-sex persons as equally attractive, suggesting that the effect is specific to young/opposite-sex persons. Results are discussed in terms of possible proximate and ultimate explanations underlying relationship maintenance processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1201
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume59
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1990

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