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Prettier People Make Better First Impressions According to New Study

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beautiful_coupleAs if beautiful people don't have enough already on their side, a new study suggests what most of us already suspected: beautiful people make better first impressions.

The findings are published in the December 2010 issue of Psychological Science.

The study took place at the University of British Columbia, where the researchers divided the 75 male and female subjects into smaller groups and told them to have one-on-one conversations lasting three minutes long. After each exchange, the participants were asked to rate their partners on their looks and five key personality characteristics: openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. The subjects also rated their own personalities.

The researchers compared participants' ratings of other people's traits with how they rated their own personalities in order to find out how accurate the perceptions were. The team controlled for the often positive bias that can seep into self-reporting.

Aside from a generally positive slant towards beautiful people, the participants were able to identify the personality trait rankings of attractive subjects more accurately than others, according to the researchers.

"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," according to Lead author Jeremy Biesanz, a psychology professor at UBC. "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."

The team explained the phenomenon by saying people tend to give more attention to those who are attractive for various reasons, including romantic interest, curiosity, a wish to be friends with the person or a desire to elevate one's own social status.

"Not only do we judge books by their covers, we read the ones with beautiful covers much closer than others," said Biesanz.

Last modified on Monday, 02 July 2012 16:39
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