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The present study investigated the moderating role of need for cognition (NFC), the tendency to engage in, and enjoy, effortful cognitive activity, on the attractiveness bias. Based on previous research suggesting that people low in NFC are more strongly influenced by peripheral cues of persuasion (including physical attractiveness), it was expected that such individuals, compared to those high in NFC, would exhibit a stronger tendency to attribute socially desirable traits to attractive persons. Participants high and low in NFC rated one of four photographs that varied in attractiveness and sex on 17 bipolar personality traits. While both high and low NFC participants rated the attractive target photographs as more socially desirable than the unattractive photographs, the magnitude of this effect was substantially larger for the low NFC participants. The findings suggest that NFC plays a moderating role in the attractiveness bias.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2001

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