Attraction plays a big part in success at the office. For instance: beards. Once perceived as a level of laziness and unprofessionalism now can make someone appear more experienced.
For people working in sales, a well-groomed beard can instill a more experienced look, which leads to an array of positive outcomes, including creating trust, purchase likelihood, and satisfaction in a transaction.
Beyond beards, beauty also plays a role in deciding what types of perks people see at work. Not only does beauty create confidence, but research has found that attractiveness can predict the number of “fringe benefits” an employee receives upon accepting a new job, both in men and women. These benefits include better health insurance packages, vacation offerings, pensions, paid parental leave, and other benefits.
If you watched the Super Bowl recently, it’s not hard to see who is in the commercials and what they are selling. Attraction sells; it’s not hard to figure out that the product being advertised can be swayed in a brighter light depending on its presentation. In an office setting, this could be particularly interesting if physical attractiveness can boost attitude confidence, say in decision-making opportunities or when being told to do something.
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology tackled how one’s physical attractiveness could affect attitude confidence. For starters, think of it like this: does someone’s physical attraction in office influence the decision-making of others? In multiple separate studies, the researchers tried finding this out.
“We found that attractiveness is capable of affecting attitude confidence regardless of its observable impact on attitudes and can even have opposite effects on each such as when attractiveness makes attitudes more positive but attitude confidence weaker (i.e., less confident),” researchers wrote in the study. “When participants were exposed to a message presented by a source whose attractiveness was irrelevant to the nature of the message, they reported less attitude confidence than when exposed to the identical messaged presented by an unattractive source.”
In one study of 90 participants, researchers said that physical attractiveness reduces attitude confidence, meaning when someone was perceived as being more attractive, it swayed decision-making and caused people to question their own judgement.
A separate study of 126 participants focused on message content pertaining to advertising for skincare and a dish detergent, where participants read about either product. Researchers said they expected that an attractive source would lead to less attitude confidence when the predicted was unrelated to attractiveness, but it wasn’t exactly the case.
To further investigate this phenomenon, a second study with 126 participants was performed in which the content of the message was either related (skincare) or unrelated (dish detergent) to physical attractiveness. Here, results showed that attractive-related (as opposed to unrelated) messages relayed by attractive individuals, inversely, led to greater attitude confidence.
“When participants were exposed to a message presented by a source whose attractiveness was irrelevant to the nature of the message, they reported less attitude confidence than when exposed to the identical messaged presented by an unattractive source,” the researchers explained.