Assessment of Positive Illusions of the Physical Attractiveness of Romantic Partners

Barelds, D. P. H., Dijkstra, P., Koudenburg, N. & Swami, V., 2011, In : Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 28, 5, p. 706 - 719 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Copy link to clipboard



Positive illusions about a partner's physical attractiveness occur when individuals' ratings of their partner's attractiveness are more positive than more objective ratings. Ratings that may serve as a''reality benchmark' include ratings by the partner him/herself and observer ratings. The present study compared the effects of using different reality benchmarks on the strength of positive partner physical attractiveness illusions (n = 70 couples). Results showed that individuals positively biased both their own and their partner's physical attractiveness. As a consequence, using a partner's self-ratings as a reality benchmark results in an underestimation of positive illusions. Presenting participants with photographs had a small effect on physical attractiveness ratings provided by women, showing that photographs, to some extent, might constrain positive illusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706 - 719
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • ASSESSMENT, PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS, SELF, COUPLES, partner-ratings, positive illusions, close relationships

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 2244518