Were they hot or not?

I got a strange e-mail from the sociology department last week asking if I was between 64 and 71 and interested in spending an hour and a half rating the attractiveness of high school yearbook photos from 1957. (“No” and “intriguing, but no.”) The e-mail went on to explain:

WHY ATTRACTIVENESS?
For this research project, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study is interested in comparing life course data of the 1957 graduates with their level of attractiveness as evaluated by peers in their age group. More specifically, we are investigating the relationship between attractiveness and educational attainment, perceptions of performance, and labor market outcomes.

WHAT IS THE WLS?
The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) is a long-term study of 10,317 men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. The WLS provides an opportunity to study the life course trajectories of 1957 high school graduates and their families. WLS data cover a wide range of topics, including education, military service, physical and mental health, labor market experiences, socioeconomic status, finances, family characteristics, aging, and retirement. The WLS is one of the country’s most comprehensive and well known longitudinal studies.

They’re not kidding: here’s the list of books and papers based on WLS data, and here’s a 113-page overview (.pdf) of the state of their cohort in 2004.

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2 thoughts on “Were they hot or not?

  1. Em says:

    Eeew, creepy.

  2. jeremy says:

    I’m not sure why this is “creepy.” Anyway, I am the faculty member who was most heavily involved in the earlier round of attractiveness coding of WLS yearbook photos. If you are interested in this, feel free to contact me at my northwestern dot edu account, username jfreese.

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