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An assessment of positive illusions of the physical attractiveness of romantic partners

Barelds, Dick P. H. and Dijkstra, Pieternel and Koudenburg, Namkje and Swami, Viren (2011) An assessment of positive illusions of the physical attractiveness of romantic partners. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28 (5). pp. 706-719. ISSN 0265-4075

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265407510385492


Positive illusions about a partner’s physical attractiveness occur when individuals’ ratings of their partner’s attractiveness are more positive than more objective ratings. Ratings that may serve as a’’reality benchmark’ include ratings by the partner him/herself and observer ratings. The present study compared the effects of using different reality benchmarks on the strength of positive partner physical attractiveness illusions (n = 70 couples). Results showed that individuals positively biased both their own and their partner’s physical attractiveness. As a consequence, using a partner’s self-ratings as a reality benchmark results in an underestimation of positive illusions. Presenting participants with photographs had a small effect on physical attractiveness ratings provided by women, showing that photographs, to some extent, might constrain positive illusions.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:9889
Deposited On:26 Sep 2011 12:49
Last Modified:26 Sep 2011 12:49

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