How Individuals Appraise Their Own Physical Attractiveness

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The current research was motivated by a desire to better understand how people make judgments about their own attractiveness and how such self-appraisals may systematically vary as a function of the context of time. In Study 1, individuals rated their past self as physically less attractive than their current self. This study is informative in demonstrating that judgments of self-perceived attractiveness vary as a function of temporal perspective. In Study 2, individuals rated their future self as more attractive than their current self. This study is informative in serving as an initial demonstration of how temporal biasing influences future self-appraisals of attractiveness. Furthermore, in both studies, temporal biasing of attractiveness was moderated by an individual difference variable–attribute importance (Study 1) and social comparison orientation. The results of Study 1 are consistent with the view espoused by Mac Davis — participants perceived themselves as more attractive now than in the past. Moreover, this pattern was found among only those individuals for whom physical attractiveness was important to their self-concept. Thus, taken together, the results supported the hypotheses. With these results in hand, a second study investigated whether people perceive their future self to be more attractive than their current self. The overall results of Study 2 are consistent with predictions: Respondents rated their future self as more attractive than their current self.

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