Personality goes a long way: The malleability of opposite-sex physical attractiveness


  • Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Department of Psychology, Monmouth University; Arthur Aron, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Julie Gee, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Monmouth University, Department of Psychology, West Long Branch, NJ 07764, e-mail:


This study tested the influence of personality information on judgments of physical attractiveness. Employing a within-subject design, 56 female and 22 male college students rated attractiveness of opposite-sex photos; participated in a distraction task; viewed each photo again, along with personality information (desirable, undesirable, none); and then rated the photos for physical attractiveness, desirability as a friend, and desirability as a dating partner. Personality information produced significant changes in ratings of physical attractiveness for attractive, neutral, and unattractive targets. The pattern of results is consistent with a model in which desirability of the target’s personality leads to greater desirability as a friend, leading to greater desirability as a dating partner, leading to the target being judged as more physically attractive.