Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 21 Issue 11 (June 1991), Pages 875-956

Perceiving Age and Attractiveness in Facial Photographs (pages 933-946)

In two experiments, 492 male and female subjects from three different age groups estimated the age of adult men and women on the basis of photographs and provided attractiveness ratings of the stimulus persons. With regard to the age estimates there was almost perfect agreement between the mean judgments of the different groups, and there was high consensus among the individual judges within each group. For each single picture, however, there was high variability in the age estimates; and although the estimates were generally quite accurate, in some cases they deviated substantially from the stimulus person's true age. In both experiments there was a negative relationship between age and attractiveness for female stimuli. For male stimuli a negative relationship was found in one experiment only, whereas in the other experiment these two variables were almost uncorrelated. Both experiments yielded two kinds of ingroup‐favoritism: The relationship between age and attractiveness was seen to be less negative (a) when the judges and the judged were of the same sex, and (b) when the subjects themselves belonged to the oldest age group.

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