Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 52 Issue 1 (March 1979), Pages 1-76

The effects of attractiveness of writer and penmanship on essay grades (pages 53-59)

This study examines the effects of penmanship and the physical attractiveness of the writer upon essay assessment. An essay which was always exactly the same in content was assessed by a large number of school teachers and by some students. Some of the assessors received the essay in typed form, for some it was written in good handwriting and for some the handwriting was poor. A photograph of the supposed author of the essay was attached to it via a report card. This portrait photograph was of a male or a female who was either highly physically attractive or rather unattractive. It was found that when the authors were female the ratings given to the essays were influenced by the factors of penmanship and attractiveness. No such effects were found if the authors were male. The implications of such findings for educational and employment application settings are discussed.

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