Social perception and interpersonal behavior: On the self-fulfilling nature of social stereotypes

Mark Snyder, Elizabeth D. Tanke, Ellen Berscheid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

839 Scopus citations


Examined the self-fulfilling influences of social stereotypes on dyadic social interaction. Conceptual analysis suggests that a perceiver's actions based upon stereotype-generated attributions about a specific target individual may cause the behavior of that individual to confirm the perceiver's initially erroneous attributions. A paradigmatic investigation of the behavioral confirmation of stereotypes involving physical attractiveness (e.g., "beautiful people are good people") is presented. 51 male "perceivers" interacted with 51 female "targets" (all undergraduates) whom they believed to be physically attractive or physically unattractive. Tape recordings of each participant's conversational behavior were analyzed by naive observer judges for evidence of behavioral confirmation. Results reveal that targets who were perceived (unknown to them) to be physically attractive came to behave in a friendly, likeable, and sociable manner in comparison with targets whose perceivers regarded them as unattractive. (42 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-666
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1977


  • perceived physical attractiveness of stimulus females, stereotyped interaction patterns, male S


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