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This study examined whether elderly people would show the typical halo effect of attributing more desirable personality traits to those individuals who have attractive faces (Dion, Bercheid & Walster, 1972). It was predicted that age should bring wisdom, leading to the elimination of this judgmental bias in older people. Fifty-two female subjects (aged 65 or above) were required to match photographs of stimulus persons (attractive or unattractive) with descriptive paragraphs (positive or negative). Contrary to predictions, the usual halo effect occurred: positive personality characteristics were attributed more frequently to the attractive individuals, indicating that this bias occurs across the life-span, from childhood to old age. Also, female faces were judged more positively than male faces.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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