The influence of facial attractiveness on imitation

Matthijs L. van Leeuwen*, Harm Veling, Rick B. van Baaren, Ap Dijksterhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


People judge, evaluate, and treat attractive people better than moderately attractive or unattractive people [Langlois, J. H., Kalakanis, L., Rubenstein, A. J., Larson, A., Hallam, M., & Smoot, M. (2000). Maxims or myths of beauty? A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 390-423]. The fact that individuals like attractive people combined with the finding that individuals imitate the ones they like, suggests that they may be more prone to imitate attractive people. The present research extends previous work on attractiveness and imitation by examining this hypothesis. Using a novel coloring procedure, we show that attractive females are imitated more than unattractive females (Experiment 1) and that attractive males are imitated more than unattractive males (Experiment 2). Importantly, this imitation occurs without any direct or anticipated contact with the target individual and without awareness of the influence of attractiveness on imitation behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1298
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Attractiveness
  • Imitation
  • Unconscious


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