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Published for the Employees and Friends of Glendale Community College

Vol 13.8 · August 2011
Gaucho Gazette > August 2011 > Around Campus

Kristina Rowden Wins Psi Beta Award

GCC student Kristina Rowden, who graduated in May but is doing an independent study project this fall on campus, won first place in the Pearson Education/Psi Beta Student Research Paper Awards. The Psi Beta site still lists last year's winners, but hopefully the page will be updated soon.

Psi Beta is the National Honor Society in Psychology for community colleges. Her paper was "Will You Be My Friend? Attractiveness and Facebook Friend Acceptance.” The project abstract is below.  

The research was conducted with the assistance of students Korah Maruska, T. Scott Dykes and Eli Hernandez for Dr. Julie Bauer Morrison’s fall 2010 PSY290 Research Methods class, and presented as a poster by Rowden and Maruska at the Western Psychological Association conference in April in LA.  

Abstract: Over 500 million people use Facebook, a social networking site, to maintain friendships, reconnect with old friends and make new friends. Research shows that the content of Facebook users’ profiles affects others’ impressions of them; however, researchers have not addressed whether a particular user’s attractiveness affects others’ decisions to be that user’s friend.  

This study investigated the role of physical attractiveness of a female Facebook user (Jessica) on primarily White and Hispanic undergraduate students’ (N=104) willingness to accept a friend request from the woman. Participants reviewed a mock Facebook profile page that included an attractive or unattractive photograph of the woman, along with basic background information. The attractive and unattractive photographs were digitally altered images of the same woman, with pilot testing confirming the difference in attractiveness.  

Participants rated their willingness to accept a friend request from Jessica on a 7-point unlikely-to-likely semantic differential scale. We analyzed the rating data with a 2 x 2 (Profile Type x Participant Gender) between-subjects ANOVA after excluding data from 23 participants who were unfamiliar with social networking sites or failed to complete the task. Men gave the highest ratings when viewing the attractive profile and the lowest ratings when viewing the unattractive profile, while women’s ratings did not differ across conditions. These findings suggest that users of social networking sites are susceptible to the Halo Effect, that attractive people are assumed to have good qualities including, in this case, being better friends.  

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