Beauty’s Effect on Success

We can’t all be drop-dead gorgeous like many popular Hollywood idols, but what we may lack in looks, we can make up with intelligence or personality…or so the common apologetic goes, which has turned out to be more myth than fact.

Researchers at the London School of Economics studied 52,000 people in the U.K. and U.S., with conclusive results: Attractive males have IQs 13.6 points above average, while attractive women score 11.4 points higher. Physical attractiveness, across the board, is positively associated with general intelligence. The research was published in the professional journal Intelligence. And while most people would regard this statement to reflect a controversial perspective, researchers unanimously share that the contention that beautiful people are more intelligent was arrived at by using purely scientific methods. They went on by adding, “it is not a prescription for how to great or judge others.”

According to Dr. Gordon Patzer, who has researched physical attractiveness for a full three decades, human beings are hard-wired to respond more favorably to attractive people, with good-looking men and women being generally regarded as being more talented, kind, honest and intelligent than their less attractive counterparts. Patzer adds, “Controlled studies show people will go out of their way to help attractive people, regardless of whether they are of the same sex or the opposite sex, because they want to be liked and accepted by good-looking people.” Even studies of babies reveal they will look more intently and longer at attractive faces.

In general, people tend to regard more attractive people as being happier, outgoing, successful, kinder and in possession of more positive traits than others. This is often reflected in myths and fairy tales throughout our history.

Whether we like it or not, in Western culture (which is highly influenced by media and advertising,) research shows that beauty matters; it pervades our society and how we choose our leaders, our loved ones and friends, bosses and co-workers. While we should strive to get to know someone before we define them, we should also take advantage of every opportunity to look our best and feel our best, every day.