Skip to main content

Personality Traits Influence Perceived Attractiveness [Web Extra]

Mar 10, 2016 01:04PM ● By Ryan Frisch

A study published in Personal Relationships examines the way in which perceptions of physical attractiveness are influenced by personality. The study finds that individuals—both men and women—who exhibit positive traits, such as honesty and helpfulness, are perceived as better looking. Those who exhibit negative traits, such as unfairness and rudeness, appear to be less physically attractive to observers.

“Perceiving a person as having a desirable personality makes the person more suitable in general as a close relationship partner of any kind,” says study author Gary W. Lewandowski, Jr. The findings show that a positive personality leads to greater desirability as a friend, which leads to greater desirability as a romantic partner and, ultimately, to being viewed as more physically attractive.

Beauty is in the Mind of the Beholder

For women, makeup does have a strong effect. In one study, women wearing makeup were approached more, and approached faster, by men at a bar than they were on nights they wore no makeup.

So what does science teach us? Be beautiful—or, as beautiful as you can be. Smile and sleep and do whatever else you can do to make your face a reward. Among its other social benefits, attractiveness actually invites people to learn what you are made of, in other respects than just genetic fitness. According to a new study at the University of British Columbia (Lorenzo, Biesanz, & Human, 2010), attractive people are actually judged more accurately (closer to a subject’s own self-assessments) than are the less attractive, because it draws others to go beyond the initial impression. “People do judge a book by its cover,” the researchers write, “but a beautiful cover prompts a closer reading.”�

Source: Association for Psychological Science, www.psychologicalscience.org.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Here in Hanover's free newsletter to catch every headline