The influence of facial piercings and observer personality on perceptions of physical attractiveness and intelligence (2012)

Author(s): Swami V, Stieger S, Pietschnig J, Voracek M, Furnham A, Tovée MJ

    Abstract: The primary aim of the present study was to examine the influence of facial piercings on observer ratings of physical attractiveness and intelligence. A total of 440 women and men rated a set of stimuli that depicted a female and a male model, respectively, with varying numbers of facial piercings. Participants also completed measures of the Big Five personality factors and sensation seeking, and provided information of their own piercings. Results indicated that, controlling for participants’ own piercings, stimuli with piercings were rated as less physically attractive and intelligent than those without piercings, with multiple piercings being accorded the most negative ratings. In addition, men with piercings were rated more negatively than women with piercings. Further results showed that participants’ openness to experience and sensation seeking were associated with more positive ratings of pierced individuals, and that greater number of participant piercings was correlated with the Big Five personality factors of Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness, and sensation seeking. These results are discussed in relation to the extant literature on body modifications.

      • Journal: European Psychologist
      • Volume: 17
      • Issue: 3
      • Pages: 213-221
      • Publisher: Hogrefe Publishing Corp.
      • Publication type: Article
      • Bibliographic status: Published

      Keywords: piercings;body modification;Big Five;sensation seeking;


      Dr Martin Tovee

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