How Our Appearance Relates to Social, Psychological and Economic Factors

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In an ideal world, people would not judge each other by appearances. But on earth, appearance rates fairly high in terms of how it affects a person’s social standing, their psychological health and stability, and ultimately their ability to become and remain economically viable. Research has shown that attractive babies have an advantage over infants that are less attractive and this advantage remains stable and self-perpetuating through late middle-age.

To judge a book by its cover

Parents, caregivers, teachers, and bosses all give bonus points and free-passes to the most attractive children, rating less attractive kids as less social, less intelligent, and less capable overall. The cumulative effect of this natural human tendency to judge a book by its cover is that people who are especially attractive, have certain enduring social, psychological, and economic advantages.


Social Stereotypes of Physical Attractiveness

By stereotyping attractive people, (both men and women) as more competent, more intelligent, and more capable, in a way, we predestine that these attractive individuals will become more competent and more capable. We judge them less harshly in terms of their intellect and as a result of this, their sense of self-worth soars. They become imbibed with the ability to believe in themselves and achieve great things. All of this happens because at our core, as humans, we believe that what’s on the outside is a reflection of what’s on the inside. How we appear to others impacts who we relate to, how we feel about ourselves, and how competitive we are in the workplace.

Being attractive has its social perks

Research has definitively shown that the knee-jerk reflex is wrong. Attractive people aren’t more competent. They aren’t more intelligent and they aren’t morally better people. Physical attractiveness is just that: physical attractiveness. But physical attractiveness is largely misinterpreted reflexively by other human beings. And this misinterpretation creates certain advantages for those lucky enough to be beautiful. These small and incremental advantages are sometimes hard to quantify, but they add up quickly and remain stable over time. Research has indicated that attractive adults are less lonely, more popular, less socially anxious, more socially skilled, and more sexually experienced.

Consistently, research has shown that juries, CEO’s, friends, parents, and neighbors, all tend to misjudge and ascribe warm attributes to those among us who are most attractive physically. Attractiveness is equated with good health while unattractiveness is equated with disease. Our tendency, as humans to rate people with pretty faces higher on a number of attributes ultimately leads to economic advantages for those who have beauty on their sides.

Most would agree that this fact of human nature is one that’s hard to own up to and easy to underestimate, but nonetheless it still exists.

“A pleasing appearance leads to a number of social, psychological, and economic advantages in the world that have nothing to do with an attractive person’s core attributes such as morality, capability, perseverance, or integrity”
Dr. Mir Joffrey (Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon)

It isn’t the attractive person’s fault that the rest of society gives them advantages. In order to be competitive in the world, it’s simply helpful to be physically attractive because humans are hard-wired to respond to beauty.