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Is beauty a gift or a curse? The influence of an offender's physical attractiveness on forgiveness

Authors

  • APRIL E. PHILLIPS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Columbus State University
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    • April E. Phillips and Cassandra Hranek, Department of Psychology, Columbus State University.

  • CASSANDRA HRANEK

    1. Columbus State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • April E. Phillips and Cassandra Hranek, Department of Psychology, Columbus State University.


April E. Phillips, Department of Psychology, Columbus State University, 4225 University Ave, Columbus, GA 31907, e-mail: phillips_april2@columbusstate.edu.

Abstract

Two studies examined the influence of a female offender's level of physical attractiveness on forgiveness. In Study 1, an apology offered to a male participant (role-playing a victim) by an attractive female offender was more effective at increasing forgiveness compared to the same apology offered by a less attractive offender. In contrast, female participants displayed the opposite pattern, responding more positively to the less attractive offender. Study 2 revealed that this effect was mediated by participants' judgments about the quality of the apology received. Male participants judged the apology as higher in quality when it was offered by the attractive offender, whereas female participants rated the apology as higher quality when it was offered by the less attractive offender.

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