Examined the self-fulfilling influences of social stereotypes on dyadic social interaction. Conceptual analysis suggests that a perceiver’s actions based upon stereotype-generated attributions about a specific target individual may cause the behavior of that individual to confirm the perceiver’s initially erroneous attributions. A paradigmatic investigation of the behavioral confirmation of stereotypes involving physical attractiveness (e.g., “beautiful people are good people”) is presented. 51 male “perceivers” interacted with 51 female “targets” (all undergraduates) whom they believed to be physically attractive or physically unattractive. Tape recordings of each participant’s conversational behavior were analyzed by naive observer judges for evidence of behavioral confirmation. Results reveal that targets who were perceived (unknown to them) to be physically attractive came to behave in a friendly, likeable, and sociable manner in comparison with targets whose perceivers regarded them as unattractive.
Snyder, M., Tanke, E. D., & Berscheid, E. (1977). Social perception and interpersonal behavior: On the self-fulfilling nature of social stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(9), 656-666.