Do Attractive People Get More Attention?


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We can all relate to how we feel when we are attracted to someone, we tend to put them on a pedestal. As much as people say beauty is on the inside everyone tends to judge people by the outside. Yet how much does how attractive we find someone influence how we feel about other parts of their personality? A University of British Columbia study published in Psychological Science found that people identify personality traits of people they find more attractive more accurately than other individuals during short encounters. You are more likely to pay closer attention to these people and also only notice their positive qualities.

In the study that was done, Professor Jeremy Biesanz, Lauren Human, and Genevieve Lorenzo put more than seventy-five male and female individuals into groups of eleven for three minutes of one-on-one conversations. After every conversation the individuals would rate the person they talked to on physical attractiveness and personality traits, including openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.Then they would rate their own personality. When the one-on-one encounters were over there was a comparison of individual's ratings of the other participants along with how they rated themselves. It is hard to fully rely on that though as people tend to have a positive bias of themselves while describing their own traits. 

For one, it was found that there is an overall bias toward people they find attractive, only tending to see their positive qualities. An excerpt from the article stated:

"'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," says Biesanz. "Despite this bias, our study shows that people will also correctly discern the relative ordering of Jane's personality traits -- that she is more organized than generous -- better than others they find less attractive.'"

It was seen in this study that since you may more attention to attractive people, not only do you notice more, you hold all of their traits in higher standing. This can be describe by many reasons, such as: curiosity, romantic interest, or desire to become closer to that individual. 

Aside from the findings, it is hard to say just how accurate they are. 
1. There is a positive bias people put towards themselves when describing their own traits.
2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; everyone has different definitions of who they find attractive.
3. It can also all depend on how observant an individual is. If someone is already really observant it will skew the findings in this experiment. 

Information from psychology today.

3 Comments

This is an interesting topic. I feel like it's kind of hard to measure, like the "does prayer heal?" question. However, the study you talked about does seem to kind of prove the point that attractive people get more attention. I feel like the question needs to be rephrased and made more general, like maybe "Do people automatically treat more attractive people better?" or "How does attractiveness affect the way a person is treated daily?" or "How does attractiveness affect social perception?"

I found a website that talks about social psychology and attraction. It discusses the five things that make a person attracted to another: proximity, association, similarity, reciprocal liking, and physical attractiveness.
http://allpsych.com/psychology101/attribution_attraction.html

I agree with you in regards to this topic and I think that the most difficult part to measure in this case is attractiveness; people all have different perceptions of beauty! In my opinion, being attractive will definitely cause you to receive more attention - I've seen in first hand! I think it's hard to generalize this to a science, especially in the study you found. Perhaps if you would have looked at something more specific, for example, hair color, the studies could have been more accurate . Here's an article about how the color of your hair can influence how you get treated: http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Blonde-vs-Brunette-Does-it-determine-how-you-get-treated-176282771.html

Kaitlin,
Your blog was very interesting! I also feel that more attractive people are perceived to have more positive qualities than they actually may. Based on your findings of this observational study, it is very convincing that there is a direct correlation between attractiveness and positive personality traits. However, i think we can also consider that reverse causation is also possible. I have heard many people say that when someone has positive personality traits, they find that person more physically attractive than maybe they really are. Im not at all saying that nice people are unattractive but maybe that people who may not have the best physical features might become more attractive to someone as they get to know them because that person will develop a positive opinion and outlook of the other person. This causes, like you said, a positive bias. As I was reading your blog I also started thinking about employment and I asked myself: Do employers usually hire people who they find attractive? I decided to look into this more and I found an article written by an Associate Professor at Hofstra University by the name of Comila Shahani-Denning who explains the idea of the "what is beautiful is good" stereotype and how there are studies that have shown that being more attractive does help people with obtaining job positions. If you would like to read the whole article, here is the link to it I highly recommend it!

http://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/orsp_shahani-denning_spring03.pdf

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