Beauty and Believability in Sexual Harassment Cases: Does Physical Attractiveness Affect Perceptions of Veracity and the Likelihood of Being Harassed?
Communication Research Reports
This study explored whether a female student's level of attractiveness affects the degree to which she is believed when making a claim of sexual harassment, and whether attractiveness is related to perceptions of how likely it is that she will be sexually harassed. Participants viewed one of three photographs of a female model who was made to appear a) unattractive, b) attractive and pristine, or c) attractive but not pristine. Afterwards they read a case file in which the photographed model claimed to have been sexually harassed by one of her professors. Finally, participants rated the photographed model's veracity and their perceptions regarding how likely it was that the model would be sexually harassed. Results indicated that when she was perceived as unattractive, the model was rated as more deceptive and less likely to be harassed than when she was perceived as attractive, regardless of whether she was perceived to be pristine or not. These results and their implications are discussed.
Seiter, J. S., & Dunn, D. (2000). Beauty and Believability in Sexual Harassment Cases: Does Physical Attractiveness Affect Perceptions of Veracity and the Likelihood of Being Harassed? Communication Research Reports, 17(2), 203-209.