The influences of physical attractiveness and sex-based biases on midshipman performance evaluations at the United States Naval Academy
Wilson, Mario N.
Laurence, Janice H.
Estrada, Armando X.
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impacts of physical attractiveness and sex on periodic midshipman performance evaluations at the United States Naval Academy. An experiment was conducted in which 138 senior-ranking male midshipmen participated. Each was provided an identical performance summary report along with one of four Naval Academy yearbook photographs then asked to evaluate the midshipman in the photograph using only the information provided. The target midshipman was presented as either an attractive or unattractive male or female sophomore-level midshipman who demonstrated an average level of performance. The significant finding was that physical attractiveness and sex did influence evaluation scores. The attractive midshipmen received higher overall evaluation scores than the unattractive midshipmen, and the attractive female midshipman received the highest overall evaluation scores. The purpose of this study was to increase awareness of physical attractiveness and sex biases and their negative impacts on performance evaluations. This study also aimed to make training recommendations and suggestions for further research on this topic that will benefit the United States Naval Academy.
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