Effects of crime seriousness and offender facial attractiveness on recommended treatment

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Stuart J. McKelvie
James Coley
Cite this article:  McKelvie, S., & Coley, J. (1993). Effects of crime seriousness and offender facial attractiveness on recommended treatment. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 21(4), 265-278.


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A total of 384 undergraduates in 12 experimental conditions representing crime seriousness, defendant facial attractiveness, and cueing of attractiveness, read a crime description then made recommendations for offender treatment. Although severity of  punishment was greater for a murder than for a robbery, it did not differ between more  and less attractive defendants. However, the less attractive robbers were more likely to be recommended psychiatric care than the more attractive ones. Since the latter were rated as only moderately good-looking, it is suggested that an “ugly is bad” stereotype may apply to mental illness but not to crime.

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