Physical Appearance

This topic submitted by Bart Cusisk, Liesl Jung, Stephanie Mills ( ) on 10/10/03 .
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Natural Systems 1 Syllabus---Western Program---Miami University

We will be studying the importance of a nice physical appearance vs. an untidy appearance in relationships of the opposite sex, same sex friendships, and in the work place.
A. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that the better the appearance will matter more in the work place. Question: Does physical appearance matter more in opposite sex relationships, same sex friendships, or in the work place? Prediction: We predict that employers will consistently rank the most professional looking as the most suitable employee. In relationships, we predict that there will be a variety of rankings, but they will be similar in a way that the better-looking picture will generally be ranked higher.

B. We plan to accomplish an understanding of the importance of appearance. We plan to discover in which scenario appearance matters most. Additionally we will learn more about relationships between people and what the majority of people at Miami think of being nicely dressed as opposed to the more grungy look.

C. This is an interesting question because we deal with appearance issues everyday when we dress to go out with friends or to a job. We were curious whether dressing well or not has an affect on relationships, friendships, and getting a job.


In our world, appearance plays a great role in our lives. In both relationships and on the job we find ourselves judging others. It is natural, when looking for relationships, that we are attracted to the better looking people. There

Rhodes, Gillian Leslie A. Zebrowitz, Facial Attractiveness : evolutionary, cognitive, and social perspectives. This article discusses how the mind and social actions are influenced by attractiveness. It also relates the evolutionary perspectives in attractiveness, focusing on the face.

Jones, Doug, Physical attractiveness and the theory of sexual selection : results from five populations This source describes the theory that physical attraction does play a role when selecting a partner. At least at first, a person recognizes and is attracted by physical features.

Buss, David M. The Evolution Of Desire : Strategies Of Human Mating
The article talks about human sexual drive and a portion discusses that physical attraction is part of the desires one has

Botting, Kate and Douglas, Sex Appeal : The Art And Science Of Sexual Attraction
Survival Of The Prettiest : The Science Of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff
This source parallels survival of the fittest with the survival of the more attractive. People who are more attractive will generally live better lives and attract better partners in the course of their lives.

Kauth, Michael R. True nature : a theory of sexual attraction
This resource relates theories of attraction that affects the sexual affairs of humans. Physical attraction does play a role in the whole aspect of being sexually attracted to another person.

Hendricks, Chris, Dawn Olson, Seth Hall, and Jonathan Batt, Physical Attraction: Attributions.
Part of the article speaks that the more attractive people are, the more money they earn and happier they are. These attractive people have an increased social self-confidence that propels them forward.

Attraction and Relationships: Who Wants What?
This site explains that men are more concerned with physical attraction than women. In the studies, women prefer to look at financial and social status in a partner.

Like a bear to honey.
_72520001019110816.asp This article explains some of the underlying qualities required for attraction for a woman to a man. There are different characteristics that women go for in men.

Frayser, Suzanne G. and Thomas J. Whitby, Studies in Human Sexuality
In this source, portions discuss the behavior tactics of humans relating to sexuality including the affects of appearance.

Loyola University, Your Responsibility as an Employee.
/responsibility.shtml#appearance In this source, it proves that as an employee, you are obligated and required to dress nicely. The university is a professional businessit states that professional dress reflects the business

Clothes Make the Man (or Woman).
/a/dress_success.htm This article addresses what to wear when going to work. It stresses that neatness is vital and ‘casual’ never means sloppy.

Inappropriate Dress and Conduct. http://career
A/inapprop_dress.htm. This article discusses that some forms of dress are inappropriate for a work place setting. Some dress codes are in writing and others are implied.

“How can you become the object of his desire?”(pgs. 173-174); Cosmopolitan, 2003 October In this article that is focused on women, it talks about how men are attracted to women who exude confidence. They like it when a woman can walk around in their presence feeling totally comfortable in whatever they are wearing. It also lists a few ideas for women on how to show off their sexy bodies.

“Beauty Report: Irresistible Skin” (pgs. 428-434); In Style, 2003 September This article is more of a guide about beauty than an article talking about a certain subject. In the beginning it talks about how these days it is popular to show a little skin, so a vital part of that is having flawless skin. Then the rest of the article goes on to talk about different beauty products you can buy to get and maintain this perfect, smooth skin.

“She lost weight, he got angry” (pgs. 42-44); Shape, 2003 November This piece discusses the idea of changing your appearance in a way that is unpleasing to your partner. In this particular case the woman lost weight and got in shape and her husband took it in a negative way. It has put a strain on their relationship and the way they view each other, all of this as a result of physical features.

Appearance is Everything: The Hidden Truth Regarding your Appearance Discrimination (pgs. 13-15); Jeffes, Steve This book was written all about appearance and the various aspects of your life that are affected by it. There are chapters that show you how to rate your looks, a chapter on how it affects your employment and chance of getting a job. It also talks about how it relates to everything from dating to marriage and even to friendships. The general idea is how outward appearance can determine your success and happiness.

“You’re A to Z Guide to Men” (pgs. 250-253); Hugh O’ Neill; Glamour, 2003 September Lastly, the final article deals more with the likes and dislikes of males more than anything else. It is not so much what they like and dislike in women but in other areas of their life. Since it is in a mainly women’s magazine, it seems to me to be a tool for women to figure out how to please men in other ways than through looks. It is possibly a way for women to align their personalities with men they are interested in, and leave the physical aspect behind.

There are many different characteristics, whether they are physically or mentally that go into making a person’s personality. When the word appearance comes into mind the physical is obviously the aspect that we are talking about. People can make a judgment about another without them even opening their mouths. For this reason, individuals are constantly concerned with the way they look and are bombarded with pressure to look a certain way. This can be seen in the articles listed above that we will give a summary of below.

Specific Research Designs:

In order to determine any results, we will be talking to three categories of people. A predetermined number (25 each) of males, females, and respectable employers (these will be defined as upper level restaurants, hotels, and professional businesses) will be interviewed and asked to rank a series of pictures. Students will be found randomly as to not focus on one group of people. These pictures include one female dressed in two different degrees of professional attire, athletic apparel, and two degrees of grunginess. The male will be dressed in the same categories previously mentioned. Interviews will go like this:
Ex: a male will be asked to rank the 5 pictures of the girl on the subject, “which would you most likely consider dating?” he will then be asked to rank the 5 pictures of a guy on the subject, “who would you most likely be found hanging out with as good friends?”
Ex: a female will be asked the same accordingly
Ex: an employer will be asked to rant the 5 female pictures and then separately rank the 5 male pictures (In this way, we will not have to notice any preference for males over females, or vice versa.)
These techniques will give us enough data to come to conclusion. After tallying up the records will know which appearance is more favored in relationships, friendships, and in the work place.

Materials and Methods
Will have 5 pictures of the same male and 5 pictures of the same female who will be dressed in different attire. We will have a tally sheet that will compile all of our data. We will involve the class by asking each person to rank the pictures with the aforementioned questioned thus including them in our study.

Examples of Tally Data Sheet
Male # Nicely Dressed 1 Nicely Dressed 2 Athletic Grunge 1 Grunge 2
Female # Nicely Dressed 1 Nicely Dressed 2 Athletic Grunge 1 Grunge 2

Employer # Nicely Dresseed 1 Nicely Dressed 2 Athletic Grunge 1 Grunge 2



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