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Beauty pays, but not under all circumstances

A deepfake-based experiment on the hiring opportunities of men and women in different cccupational contexts

Add to calendar 2023-03-10 14:00 2023-03-10 15:15 Europe/Rome Beauty pays, but not under all circumstances Seminar Room 2 Badia Fiesolana YYYY-MM-DD


10 March 2023

14:00 - 15:15 CET


Seminar Room 2

Badia Fiesolana

In the framework of the Colloquium on Analytical Sociology, this session features a presentation by Professor Tobias Wolbring (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg).

Numerous studies have shown that physically attractive people fare better in social life. At the same time, empirical evidence is accumulating that physical attractiveness has no effect or does even negatively affect social outcomes. The current study tries to reconcile these seemingly contradictory results by arguing, in line with status characteristics theory, that both social expectations toward individuals and the social context need to be considered when studying the effects of physical attractiveness. More specifically, we expect that physical attractiveness elicits gendered expectations. However, whether these expectations translate into better hiring chances depends on the applicant’s gender and the gender-specificity of the advertised job. To test these theoretical claims, we conduct a factorial survey experiment among respondents with personnel responsibilities (N=493). Using deep-learning techniques, we swap the faces of fictitious male and female candidates in application videos, thus varying gender and physical attractiveness, while holding everything else constant. Additionally, we manipulate the occupational context with job advertisements for male-typed and female-typed jobs. Results show that attractive applicants score higher in competence ratings and have a higher probability of being invited for a job interview than less attractive candidates. However, while men profit from their looks in both male- and female-typed jobs, attractive women only do so in female-typed jobs. Controlling for competence ratings, the effects of physical attractiveness on invitation probability disappear. Taken together, our result strongly support the idea that attractiveness works as a status characteristic, triggers expectations and leads to differential treatment.

(Joint work with Juliane Kühn, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)


Hybrid event. The link to the session will be provided following registration.


Claudia Fanti


Prof. Tobias Wolbring (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)

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