Friday, January 15, 2010

Upstairs, Downstairs

Downright Sexy: Verticality, Implicit Power, and Perceived Physical Attractiveness

Brian Meier & Sarah Dionne, Social Cognition, December 2009, Pages 883-892

Abstract: Grounded theory proposes that abstract concepts (e.g., power) are represented by perceptions of vertical space (e.g., up is powerful; down is powerless). We used this theory to examine predictions made by evolutionary psychologists who suggest that desirable males are those who have status and resources (i.e., powerful) while desirable females are those who are youthful and faithful (i.e., powerless). Using vertical position as an implicit cue for power, we found that male participants rated pictures of females as more attractive when their images were presented near the bottom of a computer screen, whereas female participants rated pictures of males as more attractive when their images were presented near the top of a computer screen. Our results support the evolutionary theory of attraction and reveal the social-judgment consequences of grounded theories of cognition.


(Nod to Kevin L)

4 comments:

Tom said...

I have an autographed photo of Mungowitz in my office. After reading this, I moved it to a higher shelf.

No change.

Anonymous said...

What an obscure correlation. Also, based on empirical experience I'd say men too have a taste for power in the form of celebrity. Average lookers like Sarah Palin become quasi-sex symbols;

BR said...

@Anon 8:11P,
I'd guess the Palin phenomenon is the result of relative preference. In other words, relative to Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, Palin's a knock-out.
It could also be that many men feel that Palin will be faithful to whatever it is they have assumed are her policy positions.

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