‘Babyfaceness’ may benefit black CEOs

May 1st, 2009 - 6:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Will Smith Washington, May 1 (ANI): Black CEO’s having warmer physical appearances or ‘babyfaceness’ tend to be at the helm of more prestigious corporations, a new study has revealed.

Lead author Robert Livingston, Kellogg School of Management, and co-author Robert Nicholas Pearce examined the link between physical characteristics and their role in obtaining and maintaining power in the corporate world.

Livingston, assistant professor of management and organizations, and other researchers found that babyface features clearly helped black CEOs in gathering leadership roles and further posed as disarming mechanisms.

The study, entitled “The Teddy Bear Effect: Does babyfaceness benefit Black CEOs?”, observed that black CEOs rated as being babyfaced held a more powerful position than black CEOs with a more mature appearance.

They even had warmer personalities, than whites, the study found.

Livingston said: “Prior research has shown babyface-type traits are a liability for those striving for a leadership role because they undermine perceptions of competence, but these studies focused on white males.

“Because a babyface is disarming, we hypothesized that it would provide an advantage to black leaders who have a history of being stigmatized as too threatening to occupy positions of high power.”

Livingston added: “Big ears or a simple smile can disarm one’s appearance from suggested perceptions of threat that might otherwise be associated with black males. This could serve to increase the appeal of the president or even one of Hollywood’s most successful actors-Will Smith.”

The study will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science. (ANI)

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