Do people react differently to information from those who are attractive vs. those who have expertise?
March 26, 2008 7:56 PM Subscribe
Prettygirlfilter: Is my roommate treating me differently than he treats my boyfriend because of looks? If so, how common is this? Women, does this happen to you?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I want to post this anonymously so we don't get into a discussion of whether I am pretty or not or attractiveness in general (it's fairly subjective, symmetrical features notwithstanding). My roommate, "John", is 10 years younger than me and 5 years younger than my boyfriend. He is a single straight male and something of a know-it-all. He has not had a girlfriend for any time period since I've known him, going on 7 years. When asking a question that has a definite answer (example: How can I find the static IP address for my computer? or How can I make macaroni and cheese if we are out of milk?), he appears thoughtful and listens to my suggestions or answers.
Also, when I correct him if he's wrong, he acknowledges it. When my boyfriend does the same, he is often dismissive, sometimes laughs or questions me for verification of the boyfriend's answer. It's not a personality clash; he is overly nice to both of us on most occasions and has gone out of his way to do nice things for the boyfriend, like set up a shared music server, picks up movies he knows the boyfriend wants to see when he rents, and offers us both his leftovers when he cooks. So, in confusion, I ask of the men of metafilter: Do you listen more carefully to answers from a woman you find attractive? (Roommate has gotten drunk and told me in past years he finds me attractive).
Why would my answer be more valuable than, say, the boyfriend's if boyfriend is an expert in the field being questioned? An example would be a cooking question. My boyfriend is a cook in a restaurant but roommate acts embarrassed when discussing cooking with the boyfriend, but not me. Also, all three of us live together, if that makes any difference, but we work opposite schedules and are in different areas of the home, so I see the roommate maybe 3 times a week, at most.
Don't think I need a throwaway email because I don't think it's a huge deal that will require more clarification. I'm looking for anecdotal evidence as well as any studies that show people react differently to others based on attraction alone vs. level of expertise.