This is meant to be a general guide to the study and how to analyze the project data.



PSCH 313

Final Project - Steps for Analyzing Data

Halo Effect and Leadership Project

This is meant to be a general guide to the study and how to analyze the project data. You can find a copy of the actual survey in the project folder and you can look at the survey link starting next week 4/27. You will want to study the exact measurement scales and other relevant information when you develop your methods section.

Hint: If you look in a variable window in SPSS and you see labels, but not names, or vice versa, right-click in the window and select what you would like to see.

Study and Variable Overview

Photos: The photos are of actual politicians drawn from the Nevada State Legislature information web page. Because we wanted to keep gender of the target person constant (i.e., we did not want to study differences in perceptions of males and females), we chose one gender (female) images. As you know, we pilot tested these images and chose the most and least attractive photos from an original set of 10. Thus, there was an “Attractive” target photo and an “Unattractive” target photo

(NOTE: I HATE using the term “unattractive” in this research. It would be more appropriate to say “less attractive” relative to the other photo. However, it is less cumbersome to explain what we are examining in this project. In your papers, use whichever phrasing (i.e., attractive vs. unattractive; more attractive vs. less attractive) you are comfortable with.)

In this study we will examine attractiveness effects on positive trait perceptions (Hypothesis 1, this is consistent with classic halo effect research). We will also examine attractiveness effects on perceptions of traits associated with good leadership (Hypothesis 2). The leadership traits were drawn from an article by Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991). Note that, given the fact that these are female leaders in the photos, this may have some interesting implications you might want to develop in your papers. One way or another, you will want to extend what we know about halo effect to how we might differentially perceive leaders based on attractiveness.

Grouping Variable: Condition

1 = Attractive

2 = Unattractive

We randomly assigned participants to see one of the target photos when they completed the trait ratings. This is our manipulation of the independent variable. This is represented by the variable “condition” in the SPSS file. We will use this as our grouping variable to test our hypotheses.

Dependent (SPSS “Test”) Variables

Manipulation Check. Just because we thought the attractive target was more attractive than the other target does not mean our participants agreed with this. We will have to do a “Manipulation Check” to ensure that the “attractive” target was perceived as more attractive than the “unattractive” target. Each participant rated the attractiveness of the targets on a 1 (not at all attractive) to 7 (extremely attractive) scale. We will want to verify that there is a significant difference here before we proceed with the tests of our hypotheses. This variable in SPSS is:


Hypothesis 1. People perceived as more physically attractive will be perceived to possess higher levels of socially desirable personality traits compared to people perceived as less physically attractive.  

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