Welcome to Kate's Web page!!
 Hi! My name is Kate McCormack and I am a psychology major at Saint Anselm College which is located in Manchester, New Hampshire.  As you will see this page features my senior thesis along with my internship and my volunteer activities.  Thanks for stopping by!


My Internship at Children's Hospital
Spring Break and Urban Immersion in Newark, NJ
Spring Break and Urban Immersion Photos
More Senior Thesis !
Attractiveness and Race as a Function of Memory:
Recognition and Retention of Characteristics
On Own- and Other-Race Faces
 I would like to mention some people who were instrumental in the completion of my project, Professor Troisi, Professor Flannery, and my family.  Professor Troisi and Professor Flannery have been essential on the academic end of the production of this.  Professor Troisi guided me through the beginning stages of my thesis, which included the research design its components. Professor Flannery was helpful with the analysis of my statistics, in the final stages of this project.  My family has been extremely supportive by being positive and optimistic when I was not.  Thank you!
 I would also like to thank the other Psychology majors for your educated opinions and all of the talks and support throughout this entire experience.  I wish you all the best of luck in the future!
 Finally, I would like to thank my best friend, Nick as well as my friends and roommates who listened to my complaints and worries when I was discouraged with this project.  I would also like to acknowledge the students and faculty at Saint Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey for your inspiration to pursue this area of research.
In the proposed study, the researcher made an attempt to produce an effect that would confirm the belief that attractive faces of your own race are remembered more than unattractive own-race faces as well as other-race faces.  A collection of multi-cultural photographs were used as a stimulus when paired with a fictitious biographical sketch about the person in the photo. This paragraph will explain the individual through various information about their families, school, and extracurricular activities.  The participant’s ability to correctly identify previously viewed faces was analyzed through a series of 2 (Caucasian & other) x 3 (attractive, moderately attractive, & unattractive) x 2 (time 1 & time 2) analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures.  On a whole, the Caucasian stimulus photographs were remembered better than other-race photos.  Although, there was not a difference in retention between the attractive and unattractive own-race photos, rather there was a significant main effect between the moderately attractive photos to both, the attractive and unattractive own-race photos. Overall, a significant degree of own race bias in recognition accuracy occurred.  Furthermore, recognition of the other-race photos was poorer with the males than with the female participants.  Implications of these findings are discussed.
  In this study, the researcher will make an attempt to discover a relationship between an individual’s race and level of attractiveness with the notion that others will remember them.  It is hypothesized that attractive people are easier to remember than unattractive people are, as are individuals of your own race.  The reviewed literature proposes that the more attractive a person is, the more they likely they will be seen to possess positive characteristics, including honesty, trustfulness and pleasantness.  It is also seen that people are better able to identify members of their own race than members of another race.  If this is deemed true, one might assume that if qualities of character and race leave an impression on the viewer, the person being judged would be remembered by just those characteristics.
One’s ability to identify previously seen faces of people is important.  Adults and children show a high level of performance in recognizing faces even after a single presentation.  For example, fewer errors in the recognition of faces than in the recognition of houses, airplanes, or stick figures (Yin, 1969); faces were remembered better than the pictures of dogs and buildings (Scapinello & Yarmey, 1970); and there was a higher proportion of faces recognized than of ink blots or photographs of snow crystals (Goldstein & Chance, 1970).

While faces in general appear to be better remembered that other homogenous pictorial material, some experimenters have noted that faces differ in their memorability.  Cross, Cross, and Daly (1971) suggest that one characteristic distinguishing more memorable faces from less memorable ones is ‘beauty.’  They reported that when subjects were asked to identify faces as attractive they were more likely to recognize them in comparison to those who had not previously viewed the faces.  Cross et al. required their subjects to scan an array of photographs to select the attractive faces without setting a specific time limit, which in part could have influenced their results.  Cross et al. offer the hypothesis that attractive faces are more actively attended to, but studies in verbal learning indicate that evaluative judgments of words are associated with their ease of recall.  For example, Amster (1964) found that the words evaluated as ‘good’ were recalled better than words rated ‘bad’, which in turn were more readily recalled than neural words.  These results were attributed both to associative effects of evaluative words and to the possibility of facilitation due to affective arousal.  The associative effects of the evaluated words refer to those interpretations of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ words by the participants.  The affective arousal effects are the emotional feelings the subjects experience when they paired the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ words with the ‘attractive’ and ‘unattractive’ faces.  Thus, if ‘beautiful’ faces elicit positive evaluations, which presumably they do, the superior recall in beautiful faces in Cross et al.’s experiment might be attributable to facilitative effects comparable with those in verbal learning.
In the case of verbal materials, it is possible that both associative and arousal effects would operate; but with faces, the arousal effects are likely to be greater than the associative effects.  Investigations of the effects of arousal become more marked with increasing time after initial learning (McLean, 1969; Kleinsmith and Kaplan, 1963).  If attractive and unattractive faces do result in greater arousal than neutral faces, there should be less retention of neutral (versus attractive and unattractive) faces with increasing time between presentation and recognition.  Shepherd and Ellis (1973) looked at this topic and found that the memorability of women’s faces is effected by their attractiveness, although this effect was significant only after an interval of five weeks.  This suggests that retention of attractive individuals in more significant after an extended amount of time has passed between tests.  Fleishman, Buckley, Klosinsky, Smith and Tuck (1976) ran a study similar to the previous one, but instead they offered another suggestion, which asks you to remember the faces by specific cues or features.
Facial and vocal characteristics have the power to influence subjects, especially if they are asked to determine whether or not the person being studied seems ‘good’ or ‘bad’.   Yarmey (1993) used this concept and applied it to his research by looking at faces and memory and the law.  He found significant a correlation between the facial traits of men and their vocal characteristics that differentiated ‘good guys’ from ‘bad guys’.
Research has also shown that attractive people are seen as more socially skillful, kind, outgoing and sensitive as opposed to unattractive people (Dion, Berscheid & Walster, 1972).  Larrance and Zuckerman (1981) agreed that the attractiveness stereotype might foster social skills.  Also that they are better at expressing pleasant affects but not at sending and expressing unpleasant effects.  They found this to be true because a smile that is deemed attractive may have advantages over an unattractive frown, although an attractive frown and an unattractive frown were both seen undesirable.  Adams (1977, a cited by Larrance & Zuckerman, 1981) claimed that confirmation of stereotypes takes place in four stages; attractive people 1) receive favorable expectations from others 2) enjoy better social lives 3) develop better self-concepts 4) manifest confident interpersonal relationships.  Attractive people are better at communicating an effective message because they are seen as more skilled in sending nonverbal messages (Larrance & Zuckerman, 1981).
Not only are attractive people believed to be more skillful in persuasion and exhibiting characteristics that parallel persuasion, but they are also form superior self-concepts compared to unattractive people.  One’s self-concept in developed and influence the most during adolescence where one discovers their physical appearance which exerts a lasting influence on their personality development (Jackson, Sullivan & Ames, 1987).  Galper and Hochberg (1971) looked at this notion of retention and faces and noted that the characteristics of smiling and non-smiling expressions may play a role in recognition.  This leads one to believe that expressional variation offers a topic for investigating the properties by which faces are discriminated and remembered.

Expressional variation within faces may include faces that do not resemble your own, maybe that of a different race. For many years, it has been suspected that face’s of one’s own race are recognized more accurately than faces of other races (Feingold, 1914).  And this notion continues to hold true though research conducted by Zebrowitz, Montepare & Lee (1993) which revealed that people of one race showed equally high agreement regarding the traits of own and other-race faces.   Brigham & Malpass (1985) claim that there is an own-race bias in recognition accuracy when it comes to race and face perception in connection with our long-term memories.  The own-race bias appears powerful and is not easily changed by experimental instructions or manipulations.  For example, the effect is not influenced by an experimental design that encourages different levels of cognitive processes (Devine & Malpass, 1985).
Some earlier studies (e.g. Malpass & Kravitz, 1969) had suggested that the own-race bias may be stronger among whites than among blacks. Barkowitz and Brigham (1982) also found a significant degree of own-race bias in recognition accuracy only among the white participants.  Overall, they found a significant gender difference in retention.  The male and female participants did poorer when they were asked to recall the photos of the males opposed to the females. Their explanation for differential recognition is derived from the intergroup contact theory, which argues that differential recognition stems from limited experience with members of other groups.  Chiroro and Valentine (1995) found that their participants recognized own-race faces more accurately and more confidently than they recognized other-race faces.  The own-race bias, an idea where individuals favor individuals of their own-race by remembering familiar faces.  They also found the own–race bias was determined by the participant’s contact with members of another race.  The own-race bias came into effect with those who had low contact with another race.  Within the current study, the own-race bias will be tested with Caucasian participants to avoid any previous predictions about its effect on a cross-cultural population.  The participants will view Caucasian and other race (African American and Asian) photos to separate whom they remember and whom they do not.  This research deserves further research to answer questions of testing procedures and discrimination.

Purpose of Current Investigation
The literature shows that typical faces are poorly discriminated on tests of recognition than are atypical faces, an effect that is suggested to evoke similar findings for attractive or likable faces.  Vokey and Read (1992) tested the effect of typicality on recognition as a function of familiarity and memorability and they found that familiarity decreased discrimination, and the memorability component enhanced it, supporting the hypothesis.  Faw (1990) suggests that the reported studies, which look at the memory of faces compared with names, may have several flaws within the tests that distract the subjects.  He shows that by putting the subject in a distractor-free environment, along with a conventional recognition test, the results are significant.  This suggests that the method in which a subject is tested will prove to be more beneficial when the researcher administers a test, which is limited to pictorial and literal information on paper; opposed to slides, videos and audio equipment.
The data that Glenberg and Grimes (1995) collected shows that not only do subjects need a distraction-free environment but they also need pictures to generate rough personality schemas, which are then used to help organize the memory for the position statements.  The participants were asked to view political candidates, and when the pictures were presented the subjects generated a greater number of characteristics for those candidates than those candidates whose positions were unaccompanied by pictures.  Although, Dallett, Wilcox, and D’Andrea (1968) claimed that pictorial materials appear to be remembered directly through mechanisms which are unaffected by manipulations.  With this understanding, the researcher of this study will opt to administer photographs with a brief description of the individuals shown.
It is predicted that people are remembered by means of their race as well as their level of attractiveness. One might also predict a significant main effect for the level of attractiveness and for the interaction between the sex of the stimulus.  An interaction may not be found between the sex and race of the stimulus and the interval length between the tests.  It is hypothesized that a significant difference will be found when the participants view and recall the photos on the levels of attractiveness, race and time between the stimulus photographs and tests.  Significance is expected to be found in the retention of the attractive and unattractive photographs when they are compared cross-culturally. Within this study, it will be proven to show, that attractive people are remembered more so than unattractive people are and, that you are more likely to remember members of your own race.


 The subjects were 20 Caucasian, undergraduate students from St. Anselm College, who were enrolled in Introduction to Psychology courses.  They received partial credit towards their final grade by serving as participants in this study. Ten males and ten females were tested on their retention on two separate accounts.  At the end of the study the subjects were debriefed on the nature of the study.

 The stimulus photographs were taken from a 1997 Central High School (Manchester, NH) yearbook.  The photographs were pre-rated on levels on attractiveness.  There were 20 male photos and 20 female photos that were pre-rated and narrowed down to six photos for each gender. The independent raters judged the photos on levels of attractiveness by means of Likert scale from 1-7, one being very unattractive and seven being very attractive (see Appendix E).  Their scores were analyzed using a median split. The three photographs that received the highest rating for their respective category (gender, race and attractiveness) were selected as the stimulus photographs, yielding a total of 12 stimulus photographs.  The photographs that scored the highest and lowest extremes as well as the median score represent each of the three levels of attractiveness: attractive, moderately attractive, and unattractive.  Within each category there were two photographs: one Caucasian and the other-race photo was either African American or Asian.  Once the photos were cropped, the researcher placed the six male photos (three Caucasian and three other) with descriptive paragraphs.  Then the researcher then continued to do the same with the six female photos (three Caucasian and three other)(see Appendix F). The paragraph consisted of several factors such as their name, number of siblings, extra-curricular activities, and plans for college.  The paragraph’s information did not vary too much between the levels of attractiveness or in the different races. There were two paragraph formats for which the photos were placed with.  The researcher was interested to find a difference in retention within the participants on attractive and unattractive Caucasians and the attractive Caucasians and attractive others. The photos will be cropped to fit above each paragraph.  In the first session the photos were studied with the paragraphs, and then just the photos are used when the test taking occurs (see Appendix G).  The researcher’s reasoning for this in to test the immediate retention for the photos.   When the participants returned three days later, once again, they received the photos without the paragraphs and the characteristic questionnaire. The difference in the participant’s memory within the testing scenarios will be analyzed prove significance with attractiveness and race over time, separately and in conjunction with each other.
The first test consisted of a set of personal characteristics that were adopted from the Age Stereotyping study by William Levin (1988).  The stimulus photographs were once again copied onto paper, but this time they were paired with the sixteen seven-point semantic items (one will stand for the most negative and seven, the most positive evaluations)(see Appendix C).
A questionnaire will also be administered to the subjects but at two different time intervals immediately after and then again, three days later (see Appendix D).  This questionnaire was accompanied by the stimulus photographs, which were used as a cues to help the participants answer a series of yes or no and fill-in-the-blank questions regarding the information that was in the biographical paragraphs.    The researcher will use this test to measure the retention on the photos by comparing the immediate testing day to the one three days later.  The scores of this test will be based on what they remember instead of what they do not remember.

 The testing took place in two sessions, to control for gender.  The males and females participated in this study at different times and neither group was informed of another group being tested.  The first session consisted of an introduction and brief description of what was going to occur.  Informed consent was also given at this time (see Appendix A).  Once the testing occurred the researcher administered the six photographs and the six paragraph the accompanied each one.  To have a greater control on gender the participant viewed, rated and answered questions that pertained to the photos of the opposite sex.  After ten minutes of viewing time the photos with the accompanying paragraphs were collected.  Then those same photos were passed back to the participants but now without the paragraphs (see Appendix G).  The participants also received William Levin’s characteristic rating scale for each photo as well as the questionnaire that asked questions about the individual paragraphs.  Upon completion of the tests the participants were dismissed and reminded to return in three days to complete the study, to be debriefed and to receive credit for their participation.
 When the participants returned three days later in two separate sessions (males and females) they were handed the sheet of photos without the paragraphs along with the second questionnaire, which was tailored to asking question about the paragraphs.  Once they had all finished, the researcher debriefed them upon the nature of the study (see Appendix B) and they were dismissed.

The dependent measures for this study consist of the scores from the measures on the Age and Stereotyping Scale (AS), the Characteristic Scale (CS) which tested retention, and the stimulus photographs along with their descriptive paragraphs.
The data from this study was analyzed through a series of 2 (Caucasian and other) x 3 (attractive, moderately attractive, and unattractive) x 2 (time 1 and time 2) analysis of variance (ANOVAs) with repeated measures.  The 2 x 3 x 2 was performed for two of the dependent variables (AS and CS)
The photographs were measured by the AS scale and CS yielding a variety of scores that were dependent upon the photos. For the AS scale the highest possible score would be 112 and the lowest possible score would be 16.  The highest possible score for the CS was 12 and the lowest possible score was zero.  The scores were related directly to the photograph that was being judged.
The score on the overall rating scale (AS) for the seven-point semantic items were scored and summed up for all photographs in each level of attractiveness.  The means and standard deviations are arranged in descending order.  A One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures was calculated and showed a significant main effect for the levels of attractiveness, F (1, 18)= 17.75, p < .01.  This direction is consistent with some of the reviewed literature in finding that overall attractive faces were remembered better than moderately attractive and unattractive faces.  But these finding s are not consistent with other research because a significant difference was not found between the attractive and unattractive stimuli.

Insert Table 1 and Figure 1 About Here

Overall, in agreement with the reviewed literature and the predicted results, there was a significant main effect when race was studied over time.  As hypothesized, Caucasians faces were remembered significantly better than that of other-race faces.  F (1, 18)= .000, p < .01.  A significant main effect was also found for the interaction between gender of the participant and the race of the stimulus.  F (1, 18)= .024, p < .05.  Analysis shows that the male participants did not remember other-face individuals as well as the females did.  Which goes on to prove that an own-race bias is shown for the male participants.
Insert Figure 2 and 3 About Here
It is proven to show that as time increases our memory decreases.  This time effect is a crucial component to the nature of this study as a foundation for which the theories of race and attraction are based.  A significant difference in memory for faces was found.  F = (1,18), p < .01.  There was not a significant difference in time and attraction, although there was a significant main effect for time and race.  It is shown that as time increased, the retention of the Caucasian faces remained somewhat constant when the immediate testing time was compared to testing three days later.  As predicted, and supported, the other-race faces were forgotten over time, as the race bias comes into effect.  F = (1, 18), p < .005.
Insert Figure 4 and 5 About Here

 This study has revealed significant results in different components of my hypothesis.  The hypothesis that was studied assumed that Caucasian participants would remember faces that were rated as attractive and those faces that were Caucasian as well.  This study was also interested in the differences in retention within the different levels of attractiveness.  It was hypothesized that attractive faces were going to be remembered more than moderately attractive and unattractive faces.   It was also hypothesized that Caucasian faces would be remembered more than other- race faces due to the own- race bias.  This bias claims that individuals on a whole are more likely to remember what the are most familiar with and they use race as their example.  In addition, this study was exploring the possibility of gender differences in the retention of attractive and other- race faces during the time intervals.  The data analysis revealed a variety of significant results.  This suggests that important constructs surfaced within this study.  Each of the significant results that were found could lead to future studies with this field of research.  The discussion will mostly consist of the results pertaining to memory face all levels of attractiveness and race, looking gender issues and this difference between the time intervals.
 As reviewed in the results section, a 2 x 3 x 2 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures was conducted along with the means and standard deviations for each level of attractiveness.
 The ANOVA run for attractiveness revealed a significant difference for memory to the attractive, moderately attractive, and the unattractive faces.  Overall, attractive faces were remembered better than any other category but only by a small margin in comparison to the unattractive faces.  The attractive and unattractive faces were both remembered significantly better than the moderately attractive faces.  This is interesting because the majority of the reviewed literature says otherwise.  They claim that there is a significant difference between the attractive and the unattractive faces and that was not shown here.
 To address the issue of attractiveness and memory, the mass media seems to be going about advertising in one direction.  Although attractive people are viewed as more socially aware and acceptable, then are not remembered any more than the unattractive people.  When a similar description is placed with both the attractive and unattractive faces, they are remembered almost just the same.  This finding should warn the media in saying that attractive is not always a good thing and maybe they should reconsider their gimmicks and let others try.
 The researcher ran another ANOVA for race and found that overall Caucasian faces were significantly better than that of other- race faces.  This finding confirms that an own-race bias effect occurs in the all white population that was tested.  This also agrees with the inter-group contact theory, which says when individuals have contact with people of other races, a familiarity effect plays a part, which in-turn, helps the individual remember the other- race person better than some one who had little or no contact.  The reasoning behind this is that people, on average, remember what they are most use to and familiar to.  The inter- group contact theory may have been the reason why when the third ANOVA was analyzed for race and gender, a significant gender difference was noticed.  The female participants recalled the other-race faces better than the male participants did.  The retention of the other-race faces within the subjects both decreased over time, but the females remembered more in the first testing session and continued to retain more in the second testing session.  The one explanation for this is the inter- group contact theory.  The females may have had more contact with other- race people and were more likely to score better.
 When the two testing sessions where analyzed by means of an ANOVA, significance was found.  It is understood that as the time increased from the first testing session to the second (three days later), the memory for the faces had decreased.  A main effect for race and time was also revealed in another ANOVA.  The Caucasian faces were remembered at a constant level as time increased, where as the other- race faces were not remembered as well.
 Previous literature has found attractive faces and memory to produce a main effect and not with unattractive faces and memory.  These findings however are not consistent with what the literature suggests.  In fact, the data from this current study shows that unattractive faces produce similar results in retention when compared to attractive faces. This study does agree with the literature by noticing a significant decrease in memory for the moderately attractive faces.  As predicted, the current study also supports the own-race bias effect and the inter-group contact theory.  The Caucasian participants recalled the Caucasian faces more so than the other- race faces.  Although a gender difference was not predicted between gender and race, it reviewed in the literature.  Barkowitz and Brigham (1982) showed that males would remember other- race and other- gender photos better than females.  Whereas in this study the females recalled the other- race and other- gender faces differently than the males did.  This opens this area of research to investigation with new studies and further research.
 Although some of the results yielded by this study were quite obvious (e.g. memory loss over time), it does not reduce their significance.  The main effects obtained strengthened existing beliefs while uncovering new ideas about levels of attractiveness, race and retention intervals.  It makes sense for this study to produce significant differences between the levels of attractiveness in conjunction with race and gender as retention was tested.
 This study however, was not exempt from confounding variables.  Although many extraneous variables can be controlled for, some may find their way into the study and some will contaminate it.  If given a chance to perform the study again, there are a few pieces, which I would change to produce a more significant and robust effect.
 The main variable believed to be confounding is the use of the stimuli pictures.  In this experiment, the research used a total of 12 photographs; six females and six males; there were three Caucasians and three other race photos for both the males and females.  Within the Caucasian photos there was one attractive, one moderate, and one unattractive photo and it was true for the other- race photos.  This poses a problem because the pre-rated photos might not be judged the same as everyone else, although the means of attractiveness by the subjects was similar to the scores given by the 10 pre- raters.  Another problem might have been seen with the presentation of the stimulus photographs.  They were made by making a copy of a copy, which flattened the photo and seemed to distort the photo from its original form.
 This study is complete with a number of significant results.  The findings both confirm previous ideas while formulating new ideas for research, in advertising, and in the judicial system.  The study applies to the basic foundations of attractiveness, race, and memory while building upon the base and furthering the research into its gender differences.  Social interactions within our many relationships are usually circled around common interests, ideas and activities, which may lead us to stay away from meeting new people.  One may limit them in terms of race by developing a race- bias effect.  This effect is blind to attraction but clear to other within the “other- race”.  By admitting that you cannot remember dark people or Asian people, you are biasing your own- race and in the meantime, formulating stereotypes that are trying to be broken down.  There is no one to blame here, although there are ways in which it could be beneficial.  If it is to be shown that people are more likely to remember people of there own race, attractive people, and unattractive people, advertisers should use this to their advantage.  The should market products for people according to the inter- group contact theory, by opening the companies to a variety of options for advertising.  They should facilitate the use of attractive, unattractive, and racially diverse people to sell their product.  The “model” look has been desired for so long now that it has been achieved, and if not, people are tired of achieving it.  Many women and men have dieted, and in doing so obsessed over trying to be what everyone wants.  The different ones are those who are remembered, and the mass- media should facilitate research like this to boost sales and market their products more efficiently.  An added benefit to this notion is that the self-esteem and self-worth of the American people may be restored.  This is so because the desire will be lifted off of the typical models and shown elsewhere. The purpose of this research was to base the memory in ideas of attraction and race, hoping something would come of it.  And it did, by showing significance and proving the hypothesis, although this study contributes a small portion to the area of attraction and race in relation memory.

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If you have comments or suggestions, email me at kmccorma@anselm.edu

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