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ABSTRACT

After reading an essay attributed to a college freshman, male and female college students evaluated both the essay's quality and the writer's ability. By means of a photograph, the subjects knew writer's sex and physical attractiveness (high, medium, or low). The essays also varied in “objective” quality (high, medium, or low). Significant main effects for essay quality were found in all dependent measures and a sigrdficant main effect for physical attractiveness was found for Composite Essay Quality. Analysis of significant three-way interac-tions between physical attractiveness, sex-of-subject, and sex-of-writer for the Composite Essay Quality and Writer's Overall Ability revealed that individuals of high and medium physical attractiveness were evaluated differently by members of the opposite sex or same sex. That is, highly attractive individuals received the highest evaluations from members of the opposite sex, while individuals of medium physical attractiveness received the highest evaluations from members of the same sex. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of physical attractiveness to relationships between members of the same and opposite sex.