Objective: Health researchers have claimed that perceptions toward a person with a tattoo are more negative than are perceptions toward nontattooed persons. However, support for this has been obtained almost completely by nonexperimental research.
Participants: In 2 experiments with 158 community college student participants, the authors found that tattoos harmed perceptions.
Methods: Students viewed a photograph of a female model with and without a visible tattoo, and rated her on 13 personal characteristics.
Results: In Experiment 1, ratings of a model with a dragon tattoo were significantly more negative (p < .05) on 5 of the 13 personal characteristics than were ratings of the same model shown without the tattoo. In Experiment 2, which included different participants, a different model, and a different tattoo, the authors found that a dolphin tattoo led to more negative ratings on 2 of the 13 characteristics.
Conclusions: The authors discuss possible impacts of tattoos on person perception as well as implications of the results for college student healthcare providers.