The Looks-Personality Relationship: Global Self-Orientations as Shared Precursors of Subjective Physical Attractiveness and Self-Ascribed Traits1


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    This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant BNS-8616149 to Richard D. Ashmore and Frances K. Del Boca, Co-Principal Investigators.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laura C. Longo, Office of Planning and Development, Brookdale Community College, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738–1597.


A global self-orientations model of the relationship between subjective physical attractiveness and personality is described and tested. This model, which proposes that self-esteem and two types of social desirability (self-presentation and self-deception) are causal antecedents in the self-rated looks-personality link, was supported in two studies. In Studies 1 (n= 243 females) and 2 (n= 160 males), self-esteem and social desirability independently had an impact on self-judgments of both physical attractiveness and personality, and statistically controlling for the impact of the global self-orientations substantially reduced the covariation between subjective attractiveness and personality scores. In addition, consistent with previous research, self-rated attractiveness was found to be significantly correlated with a wider range of personality attributes than was objective attractiveness.