Judging a book by its sexy cover

man reading book

"I'd like to hound her Baskervilles"

Have you ever noticed how beautiful people always seem to be the most popular as well? I’m sure you have, from whatever part of the high school pecking order you happened to find yourself in. Not that it will make the lower echelons of humanity feel any better, but there might be a scientifically sound reason for this. Research, published in the Journal of Psychological Science, has found that more attractive people are viewed as having nicer personalities – based on a number of characteristics – than their more troll-like comrades. Unsurprisingly, the fitties were also studied for longer and more closely.

In the study, the scientists arranged a series of 3 minute meetings between 75 male and females. They then asked everyone to rate their conversation partners on their attractiveness, as well as five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The more attractive you find someone, the more likely you are to rate them favourably on these five traits. This is not to say that people are completely blinded by looks, and won’t see good traits if they are not there. As the authors point out: “If people think Jane is beautiful, and she is very organized and somewhat generous, people will see her as more organized and generous than she actually is.”

The researchers also found that participants could correctly identify the relative ordering of an attractive person’s personality traits. If they are more conscientious than extroverted, this will be correctly identified. Uggos, as you might expect, are more likely to be ignored or misjudged.

It’s not looking good for the Morlock’s of this world. Previous research has found that attractive people are more likely to be seen as friendly, more intelligent, sexually warmer and more mentally healthy. Tall, dark strangers are more likely to get new jobs and promotions.

So, next time you find yourself without a date on a Friday night, it’s probably not because of your awkward personality. It’s just as likely that it’s your face to blame. Hope that helps.

Posted on February 21st 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on Judging a book by its sexy cover