Friday, March 13, 2020

Forgetting in relation to trauma and victimhood can be complicated and controversial, with some victims preferring to retain their painful memories, even at a personal cost

Punishing the Crime of Forgetting. Emily V. Shaw, Elizabeth F. Loftus. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2020, Pages 24-28.

Abstract: Although many people think that forgetting is a problem in life, and it often is, they would do well to appreciate the benefits of forgetting. Fawcett and Hulbert (2020) have marshaled a powerful argument for the adaptive value of forgetting, highlighting the many ways that forgetting is both a common and essential feature of cognition. Their arguments have implications for memory as it plays out in real life, but here we focus on implications in the legal realm. We make two major points. First, within the legal system, forgetting on the part of criminal defendants can transcend mere embarrassment or inconvenience, and can actually implicate defendants in criminal acts. Second, forgetting in relation to trauma and victimhood can be complicated and controversial, with some victims preferring to retain their painful memories, even at a personal cost.

Defendant Alibis: When Forgetting is a Crime

Fawcett and Hulbert (2020) aptly rebuke the notion of forgetting as nothing more than a cognitive “sin,” but the notion of forgetting as bad or blameworthy thrives in the legal system. The courts frequently rely on the sworn testimony of witnesses, who pledge to relay information accurately—“the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” In this domain, accurate memory can be the difference between compensation or liability, freedom or captivity, and even life or death.
One particularly challenging memory-related task within the legal system is providing an alibi. When people are considered potential suspects in a crime, they may be asked to account for their whereabouts at the time of the crime. For innocent suspects, this task may require them to recall mundane details from an earlier time—sometimes days, weeks, or months prior. Inaccuracies that are later discovered have been used against suspects, with suggestions that they were deliberately lying.
It is hard to overstate how challenging the task of providing a flawless alibi can be for the average person. Multiple research studies have examined memory in this setting and found that innocent people struggle to give accurate, consistent alibis. In one study, participants were asked to describe their location and activities during a specific afternoon three weeks prior (Strange, Dysart, & Loftus, 2015). Participants were then asked to come back a week later, repeat their “alibi,” and provide supporting evidence for their account. Nearly half were inconsistent between their first and second account; many were completely unable to provide any supporting evidence at all. Another study of alibi accuracy found that, when given two days to check their own alibi, 36% of participants had to amend their initial accounts, changing factual details or adjusting the supporting evidence (Olson & Charman, 2012). These studies show that on-the-spot recollections about one's whereabouts at a specific time in the past—in other words, providing an accurate alibi—can be riddled with error.
But why is it hard for many people to provide accurate alibis the first time? Fawcett and Hulbert (2020) provide a helpful explanation through their discussion of the “Clarity” virtue of forgetting. The argument goes like this: When an activity is rather ordinary, like biking to work each day, it is not particularly useful to remember in detail. Unless something occurs to prompt memory retention, it may be most efficient for the memory to be effectively erased (Davis & Zhong, 2017, cited within Fawcett & Hulbert, 2020). In the context of alibi recollection, if the activity that a person is called to account for is ordinary, it may be more likely to be forgotten and subsequently misreported. Moreover, the task of alibi reporting is made even more difficult by the nature of the prompt that produces the alibi (e.g., Leins & Charman, 2016). Many memories are not stored in ways specific to a particular date or time, but this is often what investigators are seeking an account of when they request an alibi.
Unfortunately, the tendency for people to incorrectly recount their own past activities, while harmless in ordinary life, can be disastrous for suspects who need to provide alibis.


Dampening Traumatic Memories

The “Serenity” virtue of forgetting, as described by Fawcett and Hulbert (2020) illustrates how forgetting can help people overcome the burdens of negative memories and enable people to forgive transgressions. Notably, these benefits can occur with or without conscious intent on the part of the person experiencing troubling memories. But what if a person seeking to forget did not need to actively seek distraction, or wait passively for forgetting to occur, but could instead willfully choose to delete a traumatic experience from memory?
This possibility is not (total) science fiction. Medical researchers have been testing drugs such as propranolol which have the potential to dramatically reduce the formation of traumatic, emotionally-charged long-term memories (and PTSD) when consumed close to the time of a stressful event (Brunet et al., 2008Pitman et al., 2002; see also Kolber, 2006Kolber, 2008). Such drugs may eventually become a regular part of post-trauma medical care, and their potential applications for reducing memory of trauma are fascinating and controversial.
Advocates of the use of memory-dampening drugs assert that this is a method of reducing human suffering and an option that victims deserve to have available to them. However, critics argue that victims of crime may have a duty to hold on to these memories for the sake of justice; successful prosecution of perpetrators could be made difficult if victims chose to forget criminal acts committed against them (see Kolber, 2008), potentially leaving those perpetrators free to harm others.
Interestingly, the limited research that has been done on perceptions of these memory-dampening drugs suggests that the public is reluctant to consider using them. For example, one study by Newman, Berkowitz, Nelson, Garry, and Loftus (2011) provided Americans and New Zealanders with a series of hypothetical scenarios where a memory-dampening drug could be used. Participants were asked to imagine they were either a restaurant manager or a soldier on a peace-keeping mission and were the victim of a violent assault. Overwhelmingly, a large majority of participants in both countries and across all scenarios indicated they would not want to take the memory-dampening drug. This was true even when participants were warned that they had a 40% chance of developing PTSD, and it was true even for participants who reported past experience with traumatic events. In fact, participants who reported past traumatic experiences were significantly less likely to want the drug then those who did not report prior traumatic experiences.
This study suggests that victims may be unwilling to dampen their own traumatic memories when given the opportunity to do so, even when warned there is a sizable risk of lasting psychological harm (i.e., developing PTSD). When given the choice to forget a trauma, extending and deliberately controlling the “Guardian” role of forgetting through drugs, it appears many people would prefer not to forget.

Men and Women Differ in Their Perceptions of Sex Robots and Platonic Love Robots

Friends, Lovers or Nothing: Men and Women Differ in Their Perceptions of Sex Robots and Platonic Love Robots. Morten Nordmo, Julie Øverbø Næss, Marte Folkestad Husøy and Mads Nordmo Arnestad. Front. Psychol., March 13 2020.

Abstract: Physical and emotional intimacy between humans and robots may become commonplace over the next decades, as technology improves at a rapid rate. This development provides new questions pertaining to how people perceive robots designed for different kinds of intimacy, both as companions and potentially as competitors. We performed a randomized experiment where participants read of either a robot that could only perform sexual acts, or only engage in non-sexual platonic love relationships. The results of the current study show that females have less positive views of robots, and especially of sex robots, compared to men. Contrary to the expectation rooted in evolutionary psychology, females expected to feel more jealousy if their partner got a sex robot, rather than a platonic love robot. The results further suggests that people project their own feelings about robots onto their partner, erroneously expecting their partner to react as they would to the thought of ones’ partner having a robot.


The results of the analysis confirms previous findings that males are more positive toward the advent of robots than females (Scheutz and Arnold, 2016). Females who had read about the sex robot reported particularly elevated levels of jealousy, less favorable attitudes, more dislike and more predicted partner’s dislike. This pattern was not found in the male sample, whose feelings were largely unaffected by the type of robot they were made to envision.
One possible explanation for the gender difference could be a combination of differences in how males and females frame the concept of human-robot sexual relations, as well as different attitudes toward masturbation and the use of artificial stimulants for masturbatory purposes. Past research has indicated that males masturbate more, have more permissible attitudes toward masturbation, use more pornography, and have more permissive views of pornography consumption (Baumeister et al., 2001Petersen and Hyde, 2010Regnerus et al., 2016Maas et al., 2018). If the males in the present study framed the prospect of having sex with robots as allegorically to masturbation with pornography, while the females considered the act more allegorical to cheating, one would expect the present results to emerge. While we did not include measures of how the participants view sex with robots, past research has suggested that males tend to think of sex with robots as a form of masturbation, not sex (Scheutz and Arnold, 2016). The overall gender difference in attitudes may also be partly due to men expressing their positive views more readily, while women may explicitly or implicitly not want positive attitudes toward robots. Future research should explore the moral and relational framing of human-robot sex in depth, including potential gender differences therein.
A different explanation for the observed results is that sex dolls and sex robots to this day primarily have been marketed toward men (Danaher and McArthur, 2017). This can explain why this idea evokes stronger negative feelings among females. In addition, the men and women might react differently to the lack of strong social cues in the sex-robot. According to the Persuasive robot’s acceptance model (Shazwani binti Ghazali, 2019), social cues and a lack of social cues predict attitudes toward robots. Women may view the sex robot in a more negative way both because they do not observe social cues and do not have an immediate sexual response. The observed gender differences may also be partly due to men and women finding it difficult to visualize forming a romantic bond with a non-human entity. Interestingly, studies have revealed that people seem to assume a more mutual relationship even with completely non-social service robots like vacuum cleaners (Forlizzi and DiSalvo, 2006Sung et al., 2007). Such findings suggest that people get deeply engaged with robots even without humanoid qualities. However, the current study suggest that this effect may only be present in true interaction, not when anticipating future interaction, as our results indicate relatively small effects.
Findings from evolutionary psychology has generally indicated that females experience more jealousy at the thought of their partner having a romantic bond with another person, while males experience more jealousy at the thought of their female partner having a sexual relationship with another man (Buss et al., 199219961999). This finding has been explained by the different evolutionary imperatives faced by males and females. In a pre-industrial state, males had to compete for reproductive resources, and could know for certain whether the offspring they provide valuable resources to were actually related to them. Males have therefore developed their feelings of jealousy as an adaptive strategy to motivate behaviors that reduce paternity uncertainty and loss of access to reproductive resources. Their jealousy is thus especially attuned to the threat of sexual encounters. Females, on the other hand, faced certainty in their rightful motherhood, but face the risk of their partner abandoning her and their common offspring, which severely compromises the odds of survival. Their jealousy is thus geared less toward purely sexual escapades without any other forms of attachment, and more concerned with emotional bonds that may distract paternal investment in partner and offspring. This adaptation account has been proposed as a the explanation for the observed gender differences across cultures (Buss and Haselton, 2005). One problem facing this account is that it can be difficult for participants to envision their partner in a purely emotional or purely sexual relationship with someone, without envisioning that the relationship can change and evolve over time. A purely romantic attraction can evolve into a sexual one, and vice versa. In this study, however, we offer a more “clean” manipulation of this variable, in that the robots we described were either purely sexual or purely non-sexual. The sex robot was explicitly described as unable to engage in anything more than a sexual relationship, while the platonic love robot was explicitly described as disembodied and unable to satisfy physical sexual urges. Our findings therefore shed new light on how males and females feel about different kinds of infidelity in a setting where sex cannot lead to love and love cannot lead to sex.
Our results further show that males and females varied in how they expected to feel if their partner acquired and used a sex robot or platonic love robot. However, the results demonstrate that both males and females fail to predict how their partner would feel if they themselves got a robot. Males, who report feeling at ease with the thought of their partner having a robot, erroneously expect that their partners will extend the same relaxed attitude toward them. Females on the other hand, who are negative to the prospect of their male partners having a sex robot, and neutral to them having a platonic love robot, erroneously expect their partners to react negatively to them having a sex robot and positively to them having a platonic love robot. These results are in line with a projection account, which suggests that people tend to expect their partners to feel as they would have, especially in emotionally charged situations (Newman et al., 1997Kawada et al., 2004Maner et al., 2005).


There are two notable limitations to the present study. The first is the recruitment procedure and sample. Participants were recruited primarily via social media (Facebook) and accessible e-mail lists to workplaces. Therefore, our sample is likely to be influenced by a self-selection bias, whereby those who thought human-robotic interaction more interesting presumably were more likely to participate in the study. The sample of participants consisted of a majority of students, and was somewhat restricted in age variation, which limits the generalizability of the findings. In addition, the results cannot be directly generalized to homosexual populations as the sample was almost exclusively heterosexual. The second limitation is the use of novel non-validated measurements. There are few validated measurements of reactions to robots, and to the best of our knowledge, none that capture sentiments regarding sex and love robots. The Negative Attitudes toward Robots Scale (NARS) (Nomura et al., 2006b) is too general for the purposes of our study. In order to gain thorough understanding of how people feel about different types of robots designed for physical and emotional intimacy, improved measurement scales need to be designed and validated.

Mental Health Outcomes of Quarantine and Isolation for Infection Prevention: A Systematic Umbrella Review of the Global Evidence

Hossain, Mahbub, Abida Sultana, and Neetu Purohit. 2020. “Mental Health Outcomes of Quarantine and Isolation for Infection Prevention: A Systematic Umbrella Review of the Global Evidence.” PsyArXiv. March 13. doi:10.31234/

Background: Transmission of infectious diseases is often prevented by quarantine and isolation of the populations at risk. These approaches restrict the mobility, social interactions, and daily activities of the affected individuals. In recent novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, quarantine and isolation is being adopted in many contexts, which necessitates an evaluation of global evidence on how such measures impact the mental health outcomes among populations. This umbrella review aimed to synthesize the available evidence on mental health outcomes of quarantine and isolation for preventing infectious diseases.
Materials and methods: We searched nine major databased and additional sources and included articles if they were systematically conducted reviews, published as peer-reviewed journal articles, and reported mental health outcomes of quarantine or isolation in any population.
Results: Among 1364 citations, only eight reviews met our criteria. Most of the primary studies in those reviews were conducted in high-income nations and in hospital settings. These articles reported a high burden of mental health problems among patients, informal caregivers, and healthcare providers who experienced quarantine or isolation. Prevalent mental health problems among the affected individuals include depression, anxiety, mood disorders, psychological distress, posttraumatic stress disorder, insomnia, fear, stigmatization, low self-esteem, lack of self-control, and other adverse mental health outcomes.
Conclusion: This umbrella review found severe mental health problems among individuals and populations who have undergone quarantine and isolation in different contexts. This evidence necessitates multipronged interventions including policy measures for strengthening mental health services globally and promoting psychosocial wellbeing among high-risk populations.

The Scent of a Good Night’s Sleep: Olfactory Cues of a Romantic Partner Improve Sleep Efficiency

The Scent of a Good Night’s Sleep: Olfactory Cues of a Romantic Partner Improve Sleep Efficiency. Marlise K. Hofer, Frances S. Chen. Psychological Science, March 12, 2020.

Abstract: Almost nothing is known about whether exposure to the scent of loved ones influences sleep. In the current study, 155 participants spent 2 nights with their partner’s scent and 2 nights with a control scent (in random order). Sleep was measured in two ways: sleep efficiency (via actigraphy) and perceived sleep quality (via self-report). Sleep efficiency was higher when participants were exposed to their partner’s scent. This increase occurred regardless of participants’ beliefs about the origin of the scent. Perceived sleep quality was higher when participants believed that they were smelling their partner’s scent. Exposure to a partner’s scent led sleep efficiency to increase by more than 2% on average, an improvement similar in magnitude to the effect of melatonin on sleep. The current work speaks to the critical role of olfaction in communication and reveals that social scents can impact sleep.

Keywords: olfaction, social communication, social support, nonverbal communication, health behaviors, open data, open materials, preregistered

Unattractive people are unaware of their (un)attractiveness

Unattractive people are unaware of their (un)attractiveness. Tobias Greitemeyer. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, March 11 2020.

Abstract: Past research has shown that how people rate their physical attractiveness is only moderately correlated with how they are rated by others, suggesting that at least some people have little insight into their true level of attractiveness. The present research tests the hypothesis that unattractive people are not aware of their unattractiveness. In fact, six studies (overall N = 1,180) showed that unattractive participants considerably overestimated their attractiveness compared to ratings by strangers. In contrast, attractive participants were more accurate. If anything, they underestimated their attractiveness. It was also examined why unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness. As expected, unattractive participants differentiated less between attractive and unattractive stimulus persons than did attractive participants. They were also more likely than attractive participants to select unattractive stimulus persons to compare themselves to. However, these tendencies did not account for why unattractive participants overestimated their attractiveness, nor did affirming participant’s self‐worth. Limitations and avenues for future research are discussed.


Study 6 replicated Study 5 that unattractive people differentiate less than attractive people between unattractive and attractive stimulus persons. In particular, unattractive participants were more favorable toward unattractive stimulus persons. Study 6 further showed that unattractive participants were more likely than attractive participants to select an unattractive stimulus person with whom they would compare their attractiveness to. However, neither of these tendencies could explain why unattractive participants overestimated their attractiveness compared to the ratings by the other participants.


The present set of studies addressed the relationship between self‐ratings of attractiveness and ratings by others. As in previous research (for meta‐analyses, Feingold, 1992; Langlois et al., 2000), the experimenters (Studies 1, 3–5), raters of the participant’s photographs (Study 2), and other participants (Study 6) showed high agreement about whether a person is attractive or not. In contrast, the relationship between the participant’s subjective and objective attractiveness ratings was relatively small. That is, whereas the interrater agreement of ratings of a target’s attractiveness was high, some of the targets had a different perception of how attractive they are.
All six studies provide compelling evidence that self‐ratings of unattractive people mostly differ from how others perceive their attractiveness. In fact, relative to ratings by strangers, all studies showed that unattractive participants considerably overestimated their attractiveness. It is remarkable that across all studies, unattractive participants reported to be above‐average (relative to the scale midpoint) and their self‐rated attractiveness was similar to how the objectively attractive participants rated their attractiveness. Moreover, unattractive participants were mostly unaware of how others rate their attractiveness. The objective attractiveness was much lower than how the unattractive participants believed to be perceived by strangers. Overall, unattractive participants judged themselves to be of about average attractiveness and they showed very little awareness that strangers do not share this view. In contrast, attractive participants had more insights into how attractive they actually are. If anything, they underestimated their attractiveness. It thus appears that unattractive people maintain illusory self‐perceptions of their attractiveness, whereas attractive people’s self‐views are more grounded in reality.
Whereas the effect that unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness compared to ratings by strangers could be firmly established, elucidating the exact underlying mechanisms awaits future research. The present studies tested some possible mechanisms but these appeared not to be the driving forces. Based on self‐affirmation theory (Steele, 1988), it was reasoned that if the overestimation effect has motivational roots, then affirming other aspects of the self should reduce defensive processes so that more accurate self‐perceptions result. However, both Studies 3 and 4 showed that a self‐affirmation manipulation that had successfully reduced defensive processing in previous research (Reed & Aspinwall, 1998) did not affect how unattractive participants rated their attractiveness. Hence, it appears that the wish to perceive oneself in a favorable way is not the main mechanism why unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness.
However, meta‐cognitive capacity and the comparison target approach also did not explain why the unattractive participants overestimated their attractiveness. Kruger and Dunning (1999) argued that incompetent people lack metacognitive skills that are needed to discern that one’s performance is poor. In line with their theorizing, they found that relatively incompetent participants were less able to gauge the competence of their peers than were relatively competent participants. We found a similar effect, in that unattractive participants differentiated less between attractive and unattractive stimulus persons than did attractive participants. In particular, they gave unattractive stimulus persons higher ratings than did attractive participants, whereas attractive stimulus persons were rated similarly. It thus appears that unattractive people not only perceive themselves as relatively attractive, they also rate other unattractive individuals relatively favorably. However, that unattractive people have particular beauty ideals (or have less meta‐cognitive skills to differentiate between attractive and unattractive stimulus persons) did not have an impact on how they perceive themselves. That is, that unattractive participants overestimated their attractiveness compared to ratings by strangers is not due to them rating all unattractive people (including themselves) relatively favorably.
Likewise, we did find the predicted effects that unattractive participants selected unattractive stimulus persons and attractive participants selected attractive stimulus persons with whom they would compare their attractiveness to. Hence, it would have been possible that both attractive and unattractive people believe that their attractiveness level is similar to most others, which could have explained the findings that attractive participants underestimated their attractiveness and that unattractive participants overestimated it. However, whether participants selected an attractive or unattractive stimulus person had no impact on how they rated their own attractiveness and thus could not explain why the self‐rated attractiveness of attractive and unattractive people hardly differed.
Although comparison choice did not have an impact on how unattractive participants rated their own attractiveness, the finding that unattractive participants selected unattractive stimulus persons with whom they would compare their attractiveness to suggests that they may have an inkling that they are less attractive than they want it to be. Given that people tend to compare themselves with those who they feel are similar (Wood, 1989), it appears that the unattractive participants realized that they had more in common with the unattractive rather than the attractive stimulus persons. Even though the self‐ratings of the unattractive participants suggest otherwise and that the unattractive participants reported to perceive themselves to be less attractive than they actually are, they seem to realize that they are less attractive than others.

Limitations and future research

Whereas the finding that unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness is extremely robust and can be considered a fact (in all studies, the effect sizes were large and relatively consistent in their magnitude), the underlying mechanisms are unclear so far. Theoretical explanations are available and were tested in the present research, but although some promising effects were found (e.g., attractive and unattractive participants differed in their ratings of unattractive stimulus persons), the mechanism why unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness is still unknown and needs further work.
In this regard, it might be important that the present research compared self‐ratings of attractiveness with attractiveness ratings by strangers. Previous research has shown that self‐ratings are typically higher than ratings by strangers (a finding that was consistently replicated in the present research), but self‐ratings tend to be lower than ratings by spouses (e.g., Murstein & Christy, 1976). More generally, it has repeatedly been shown that not only objectively visible traits but also contextual variables can influence how people’s physical attractiveness is rated by others (e.g., Faust, Chatterjee & Christopoulos, 2018; Kniffin & Wilson, 2004). For example, factors unrelated to physical features such as membership in a common social group (Escasa, Gray & Patton, 2010) or feelings toward other people (Kniffin, Wansink, Griskevicius & Wilson, 2014) have been shown to have an impact on the perception of others' attractiveness. In sum, there is the strong tendency that people rate a familiar individual that they also like as more attractive than would someone who is unfamiliar with that individual. As a consequence, it may well be that there is more concordance between how unattractive people perceive themselves and how they are perceived by others with whom they have social ties.
Moreover, whereas there is generally high agreement about who is attractive and who is not, beauty is still to some extent in the eye of the beholder. For example, in one study (Cross & Cross, 1971), 300 judges rated the attractiveness of stimulus persons in groups of six. The most attractive person was picked as best of its group by 207 judges, but even the least attractive person was chosen as best of its group by four judges. Interestingly, whereas there is relatively high agreement about the attractiveness of very attractive, attractive, about average, and unattractive individuals, there is rather disagreement about who is very unattractive (Kanazawa, Hu & Larere, 2018), meaning that very unattractive individuals are attractive to some (as in the Cross & Cross, 1971, study).
It thus may be that unattractive people take the positive feedback from their loved ones and those (few) that are attracted to them and use these as anchors for their self‐ratings and for how they believe they are rated by strangers. In fact, people selectively forget (Sedikides, Green, Saunders, Skowronksi & Zengel, 2016) and denigrate (Ditto & Lopez, 1992; Shepperd, 1993) negative feedback about themselves and they preferentially want to receive self‐enhancing feedback (Gaertner, Sedikides & Cai, 2012). Future research would be thus welcome that assesses the objective attractiveness of a target by raters that know the attractiveness target and examines to what extent people integrate these ratings into their self‐perceived attractiveness.
There is a further reason why a comparison between self‐ratings and ratings by people who are familiar with the target person would be worthwhile. As the present studies suggest, the unattractive participants deceived themselves in that they perceived themselves as more attractive than is actually warranted. Evolutionary theorizing (e.g., von Hippel & Trivers, 2011) argues that such an instance of overconfidence may have social advantages. For example, people may hold inflated self‐views as a means of persuading others to adopt these overly positive perceptions of them. That is, self‐deception evolved because it facilitates the deception of others. In line with these ideas, recent research (Murphy, von Hippel, Dubbs et al., 2015) tested whether overconfidence is associated with desirableness as a dating partner. In fact, overconfident authors’ of dating profiles were perceived as more desirable and this effect was mediated by how confident raters perceived the authors to be. Therefore, it might be that people who learn that an objectively unattractive individual perceives him/herself in a positive way may assume that this person has some physical qualities that warrant the confidence and, in turn, perceive the person more favorably. Future research may examine whether self‐ratings of attractiveness indeed have an impact on how an individual is perceived by others after the raters learned about the self‐ratings.
Another avenue for future research would be to examine why attractive participants underestimated how attractive they were rated by strangers. Part of the reason could be due to regression‐to‐the‐mean (if participants are rated very highly by others, there is little room left for overestimation). However, the unattractive participants’ overestimation was much more pronounced than was the attractive participants’ underestimation so the finding that attractive people underestimate their attractiveness is likely to have psychological roots as well.
Finally, a limitation of the present studies is that the raters in all studies could only see the faces and clothed bodies of the participants. It is rather likely that the participants considered not only their faces and dressed appearance but also their naked bodies to estimate their level of attractiveness. Hence, part of the reason why the self‐ratings of unattractive participants differed from the experimenter ratings could be that different criteria were used as indicators of the overall attractiveness (cf., Dunning et al., 1989).