Beautiful me

Khalil Gibran said that we live only to discover beauty and that all else is a form of waiting. Gibran also said, “Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.” I think we can all get Gibran’s point when we think of those times we have spent waiting for our self-obsessed friend to stop looking at themselves in the mirror. (Or was Gibran making another point there?) We all know people who are into their appearance but are more attractive people more likely to be self-obsessed? That question has been answered in a new study.

The new study was aiming to assess just how individual attractiveness influences a person’s tendency to be selfish and behave with inequality to others. The theory goes that people who are regarded as attractive tend to rule when it comes to social status and so they have more to gain by furthering social inequity.

To test whether this theory plays out in the real world the researchers performed objective measures on equal numbers of men and women using a 3D body scanner. Based on this (further subjective tests were done later as we shall see) they gave people attractiveness scores derived from waist-to-chest ratios for men and waist to hip ratios for women as well as slimness. The participants then completed a personality questionnaire and then took part in a game in which they were given money and asked to decide how much they would share with another individual.

The results showed that men with higher attractiveness scores were more selfish and less egalitarian and likely to share than men with lower attractiveness scores. However, attractive women were just as generous as non-attractive women.

In a further analysis, the researchers then had a new group of people look at pictures of the subjects from the experiment and rate them for attractiveness and how selfish they would be likely to be. The “raters” thought attractive men and women were more likely to be selfish and less likely to be generous and egalitarian.

It seems then that we have pretty much nailed those attractive dudes for the selfish sods that they are but we are being a touch harsh extending the assessment to attractive women as well. We should however, maybe cut the hot guys a bit of slack because they are just protecting the elevated status that we as a society have bestowed upon them. It may be true that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but sometimes the beholder needs a slap in the face with a wet fish.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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