Date of Award:

1985

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gerald R. Adams

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Elwin C. Nielsen

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to investigate possible examiner bias in scoring the Verbal subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Revised) due to the level of facial attractiveness of the child. Sex of the child and sex of the research subject were also included as independent variables. No main effect for attractiveness or sex x attractiveness interactions were found. Thus, little evidence emerged to suggest attractiveness stereotyping effects in an intelligence testing context. However, female children received significantly higher Comprehension and total Verbal scores than did male children. In addition, while male subjects did not provide differential Verbal scores for male and female children, female subjects tended to be biased toward female children, regardless of attractiveness level. A secondary goal of this study was to determine if the research subjects differentially attributed positive characteristics to attractive versus unattractive children. Indeed, it was empirically established that, in this testing environment, adults attributed more positive personality and social characteristics to attractive than unattractive children. Implications for clinicians/diagnosticians are discussed. It is suggested that future research attempt to delineate a continuum of diagnostic measures wherein one pole represents objective measures with little risk of bias and the other pole is the extreme of subjective instruments with high resk of examiner bias.

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