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)