The teddy-bear effect: Does having a baby face benefit black chief executive officers?: Research article

Robert W. Livingston, Nicholas A. Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research suggests that having a baby face is negatively correlated with success among White males in high positions of leadership. However, we explored the positive role of such "babyfaceness" in the success of high-ranking Black executives. Two studies revealed that Black chief executive officers (CEOs) were significantly more baby-faced than White CEOs. Black CEOs were also judged as being warmer than White CEOs, even though ordinary Blacks were rated categorically as being less warm than ordinary Whites. In addition, baby-faced Black CEOs tended to lead more prestigious corporations and earned higher salaries than mature-faced Black CEOs; these patterns did not emerge for White CEOs. Taken together, these findings suggest that babyfaceness is a disarming mechanism that facilitates the success of Black leaders by attenuating stereotypical perceptions that Blacks are threatening. Theoretical and practical implications for research on race, gender, and leadership are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1236
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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