Existing literature indicates that physical attractiveness positively affects variables such as income, perceived employee quality and performance evaluations. Similarly, in the academic arena, studies indicate instructors who are better looking receive better teaching evaluations from their students. Previous analysis of the website RateMyProfessors.com confirms this, indicating that instructors who are viewed by students as "hot" receive higher "quality" ratings than those who are "not." However, psychology literature indicates that perceptions of attractiveness are influenced by positive illusions, a property whereby individuals with higher quality relationships view each other more positively than objective observers. This paper uses data from Rate My Professors to investigate the existence of positive illusions in the instructor-student relationship. It finds that positive illusions exist, suggesting that existing literature overestimates the premium associated with physical attractiveness. Furthermore, the source of these illusions varies significantly between male and female instructors with important implications for the role of gender in workplace evaluations, hiring, promotion, and tenure. Accessed 4,387 times on https://pareonline.net from February 16, 2015 to December 31, 2019. For downloads from January 1, 2020 forward, please click on the PlumX Metrics link to the right.
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Theyson, Katherine C.
"Hot or Not: The Role of Instructor Quality and Gender on the Formation of Positive Illusions Among Students using RateMyProfessors.com,"
Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation: Vol. 20
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/pare/vol20/iss1/4