Physical attractiveness in social interaction

Harry T. Reis*, John Nezlek, Ladd Wheeler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


A journal-style record was used to construct several indices characterizing the socializing among 35 male (M) and 36 female (F) undergraduates. These variables were then related to Ss' independently rated physical attractiveness. The following major results were obtained: (a) Physical attractiveness was strongly related to the quantity of social interaction for Ms, positively with the opposite sex and negatively with the same sex; no significant pattern emerged for Fs. (b) For both sexes, particularly with opposite-sex interactions, satisfaction showed an increasing tendency over time to be positively correlated with attractiveness. (c) Fs with more variable attractiveness ratings were more likely to be satisfied with their socializing. (d) Physically attractive Ms tended to have more mutually initiated and fewer self- or other-initiated interactions with the opposite sex. (e) Attractive Ms spent more of their interactions conversing and less in activities; attractive Fs also reported a lesser proportion of task interactions and more prevalent dates/parties. Mediating mechanisms for these effects, notably including people's stereotypic beliefs about physical attractiveness, are also discussed. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-617
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1980
Externally publishedYes


  • nature of same- vs opposite- vs mixed-sex social interactions, college students, 1-yr study
  • physical attractiveness, quantity &
  • sex &


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical attractiveness in social interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this