Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




William R. Dobson


Gerald R. Adams


The purpose of this study was to determine if male and female communicators utilize different styles of persuasion with an attractive versus an unattractive female target. Forty undergraduate students were asked to persuade a female confederate in either an attractive condition or an unattractive condition to eat M&M's. Perceptions of attractiveness and personality assessments were checked by a post-experimental questionnaire. Influence attempts were rated and categorized by the use of the Social Interaction Scoring System. Individual responses were then factor analyzed to identify profiles of persuasive communication. These behavioral profiles were then statistically compared across experimental conditions by analyses of variance.

No significant differences were found for sex or experimental condition. The subjects did, however, perceive the confederate as significantly more attractive when in the attractive condition than when in the unattractive condition. Further, while the confederate was perceived as more curious and perceptive when in the attractive condition, she was perceived as more indifferent and insensitive when in the unattractive condition. From the results of this study, it -was concluded that people do not necessarily alter their persuasive technique according to the attractiveness of the target person. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed, and suggestions for further research are given.



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