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Causal Inferences and Responsibility Attributions Concerning an HIV-Positive Target: The Double-Edged Sword of Physical Attractiveness

Citation

Agnew, Christopher R. & Thompson, Vaida D. (1994). Causal Inferences and Responsibility Attributions Concerning an HIV-Positive Target: The Double-Edged Sword of Physical Attractiveness. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 9, 181-90.

Abstract

Investigated the effect of physical attractiveness on inferences regarding possible mode of HIV infection, responsibility for infection, and possession of personal characteristics. 180 undergraduates read a description of an HIV-positive male target whose physical attractiveness was experimentally manipulated to be high, low, or neutral. No information on how HIV was acquired was provided. Results indicate that an attractive target was more likely to be perceived as having acquired the virus through heterosexual relations. An unattractive target was more likely to be seen as having contracted HIV through homosexual relations, shared-needle drug use, and unlucky events. However, the physically attractive target was perceived as significantly more responsible for his condition.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Social Behavior and Personality

Author(s)

Agnew, Christopher R.
Thompson, Vaida D.

Year Published

1994

Volume Number

9

Pages

181-90

Reference ID

407