The eye of the beholder: Romantic goals and impression biases

Stephanie A. Goodwin, Susan T. Fiske, Lee D. Rosen, Alisa M. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Four experiments investigated the effects of romantic goals on task and social impression formation. The clouded judgment hypothesis holds that romantic goals encourage positive biases on less relationship-relevant dimensions (e.g., task competence). The default positivity hypothesis holds that romantic goals encourage positivity biases on relationship-relevant dimensions in the absence of relevant information. The selective accuracy hypothesis posits that romantic goals encourage accuracy regarding relationship-relevant attributes (e.g., social competence) when relevant information is available. In four studies, male and female perceivers evaluated opposite-sex targets whom they expected to date (romantic goals) or to meet for nonromantic interaction (baseline). Videotaped targets displayed competence or incompetence on task (Experiments 1 and 2) or social (Experiments 3 and 4) dimensions. All three hypotheses were supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-241
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Attraction
  • Bias
  • Goals
  • Impressions
  • Positivity


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