People Biased Based on Appearance

I am going to be applying for internships very soon. This mean i am going to have to do interviews so I asked my mom to buy interview clothes. She said that I could just use clothes that I already had. I began to wonder how important it is that I actually look good at the interviews. I thought I would try to figure out if people are actually biased based on people’s physical appearance.


Unfortunately after doing research I found out that the look matters more than we may believe. A study done by Timothy Judge examined how something like height can affect how much you are paid as an employee. In his study he found a positive correlation between height and salary, meaning the taller you are the more you will be paid.


A similar study was done with obese people. They are likely to be paid less. More factors that can affect how you are paid include, hair color, amount of makeup, and level of attractiveness.


I wondered how appearance can have such an impact on people’s perception of another person. I then found about about the Halo effect. According to psychologist Edward Thorndike, people who have one good quality,  like being physically attractive, are seen to have more good qualities to. This effect can even cause a more attractive person to be less likely to be convicted of crime. In the end I concluded that the look matters, but it won’t get you far with out personality or character. Maybe, if I show my mother the research, she will get me clothes for interviews!







11 thoughts on “People Biased Based on Appearance

  1. Theodore Andrew Ochieng

    I liked the idea of the “Halo Effect” — it touches on some of the inherent confirmation biases we are prone to have and how quickly they can be created without full context. This helps to illustrate why it’s so important, particularly when you are performing research, to be aware of the Texas Sharphooter problem as well as being open to be constructively criticized; it all helps fight confirmation bias. The one thing I found chilling about this is the carry-on effect it had onto your earning potential.

  2. Devon Green

    I think we as a society definitely have a problem with judging other based on their appearance. Whether we mean to or not its an innate we have. But whats more important is how we react to ourselves judging others. If our first instinct is to judge and then the next thought is “whats my right to judge someone?’ than I think thats climbing over the social stigma of judgement. I find this article really interesting and love reading about topics like this. This goes into a good discussion of how and why we are judged based on our appearances.

  3. Marvin Barnhill

    I have always held my appearance to high standards when it comes to interviews. Its always been my understanding that your dress and hygiene could make or break you the moment you walk into the door. Its always been my path of thinking that its much more difficult to break people of their already developed biases once you’ve given them material to judge you one. This is shown in an article by the American Psychology Association who examined a study which found people think women who wore more makeup to interviews were more likable and trustworthy, whereas wearing too much make up did the opposite. Small things like this can be applied to many other facets of appearance, its pretty scary to even think about.

  4. Amily Zhuang

    I was in the modeling industry before coming to Penn State where all you do is get judged of your looks. If an agent like your appearance, you’ve book your job. However it’s not as superficial as it sounds. As a model, you were taught that NOT EVERYONE will like your look. Some will like soft and other will like exotic. It all depends what it is that need a model for.

    However, looks are not everything. Here is a TED talk given by a model I think you’d enjoy.
    Model Ted Talk

    Your article was very easy to comprehend, I wish you the best of luck at your interviews! (:

  5. Darcy Pacheco

    I think this post is very true to today’s society. People are expected to look a certain way or a certain part and if they don’t meet such an expectation it can hurt them as a result. People place too much of an emphasis on looks and can even do so unconsciously. According to an article published by Live Science, people have an unconscious desire to have a sexually attractive partner. This relates back to the fact that looks matter whether we say they do or not. Feel free to click the link below to read more information on the study:

  6. Matthew Hogan

    This is a very interesting post. I was a little bit surprised to see that there is a correlation between height and pay, because I didn’t think that height would be much of a factor. However, I definitely understand how our appearance can affect how people perceive us. I think that we are all guilty to an extent of judging someone based on how they look. We just assume certain characteristics of people based on what they look like rather than what is actually true. If I see a very large and scary looking person, I am going to assume that he is mean and not friendly. And in the workplace, if people see someone who looks out of shape with a not very clean look, they will assume that he/she is probably lazy and not a very good worker. To an extent I think this can be fair, because if someone comes in for an interview and looks dirty, then you may not want them over someone who looks fresh and prepared. However, when it comes to overall attractiveness it is not fair that someone more qualified may be passed up for a better looking person.

  7. Jen Malespina

    This blog was surprising being that I never would’ve imagined that all of this could play into getting a job and salary. I wish you included a little more detail because I am very interested in the claims you made but confused about the reasoning. I am really curious about the height to salary correlation because if that is true I am in luck. This article helped to explain this a little more:

  8. Madelyn Erin Peikin

    This post is very relevant because there have been many stories about people either being judged on how they look, or even being fired for their sexual orientation. This blog specifically brought to mind an episode of “That’s so Raven.” She wasn’t going to be hired because they didn’t “hire black people.” I remember being shocked even at such a young age. Things such as race or the clothes people wear (as long as they are not completely inappropriate) should not have a huge impact on who gets hired/fired. It should ultimately be about who gets the job done! Thanks for sharing.

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