Guilt By Association

I’ve long wondered: why do students pay such a premium to go to a school with impressive professors, even when those professors largely ignore them?  Yesterdays’ Post gives a clue:

Social psychologist Michelle Hebl … had volunteers evaluate a mock job applicant. Some volunteers saw the applicant sitting in a waiting room next to an overweight person, while others saw the applicant in the waiting room sitting next to a person of average weight. … Hebl found that volunteers rated job applicants more negatively when they had been seen seated next to an overweight person than when they were seen seated next to an average weight person. The volunteers had no idea that they were showing not only a prejudice against fat people but also a bias against people who were merely in proximity to overweight people. … Men and women seen in the company of beautiful partners are perceived as being more attractive than when they are seen in plainer company. … Heterosexual men seen in the company of gay men had some of the stigma attached to homosexuality rub off on them.

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