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All in the Mind, 3rd Edition by Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Adrian Furnham

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8 Do Looks Matter?

8.1 Introduction

Which traits and characteristics best explain interpersonal attraction, that is, why people may be attracted to another? One factor always comes out as number one: physical attractiveness.

This finding has since come to epitomize and exemplify one of the most ubiquitous findings in the psychological literature: that beauty matters. Indeed, research over the past four decades has demonstrated profound and broad‐reaching implications of physical attractiveness for people’s lives. But what aspects are more important than others? And why so? Are they all culturally invariant?

Attractive people are treated differently from others more generally. Research has shown that attractive people are afforded more personal space, are more likely to win arguments, and are more trusted with personal secrets. Other research is consistent with these findings, showing that attractive people are considered more intelligent, happier, and more successful, perceived as having a better personality, and more likely to get married.

These studies demonstrate what has come to be known as the beautiful is good bias. Research repeatedly demonstrates a positive correlation between physical attractiveness and treatment from others, leading physically attractive individuals to have better jobs, higher incomes, and more friends than others. Such studies leave us in no doubt that physical beauty can have a profound impact on an individual’s daily life. What such studies ...

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