Social influence, evolutionary theory, and symmetry
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Perceptions of attractiveness for symmetrical and asymmetrical stimuli were investigated. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions in which they either discussed the stimuli or engaged in a distraction task. In both conditions, individuals in same-sex groups of 4 - 12 were asked to independently rate both symmetrical and asymmetrical people and symmetrical and asymmetrical fashions for attractiveness and then, depending on the condition to which they were assigned, to either discuss and formulate a group rating for each stimulus or to participate in the distraction task. Participants were then asked to independently re-rate the stimuli. Differences between time one and time two ratings were analyzed. Results indicate mixed support for an evolutionary hypothesis that predicts no change over time in the non-discussion condition and a change only in the ratings for asymmetrical stimuli after discussion. The evolutionary hypothesis also suggests that symmetrical stimuli may be moderately resistant to social influence.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 14-16).
Pinkham, Amy Elizabeth (2000). Social influence, evolutionary theory, and symmetry. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from