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July 29, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Mad Science – You’re So Vain

No matter how much you stare in the mirror and scream in terror at the sight before you, studies show that you actually overestimate your own attractiveness. Researchers Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago and Erin Whitchurch of the University of Virginia conducted experiments on study participants and used computers to create more attractive and less attractive versions of themselves. When asked to identify their actual photo, people tended to pick the attractively enhanced one. However, this bias did not apply to strangers, who tended to pick the unchanged one.

In the cruellest joke evolution has played on us since the T. rex became the chicken, beautiful people also tend to be smarter. Studies in Britain and America have found beautiful people have IQs 14 points above average. Satoshi Kanazawa from the London School of Economics found the association between attractiveness and general intelligence is also stronger among men than among women.

Beauty can also influence how much you earn. A study done by Pfeifer noted a positive correlation between physical appearance and wages. More attractive people are, on average, more likely to be employed and have a higher wage than their normal counterpart.

So what are the ingredients to beauty? Evolutionary biologist Randy Thornhill from the University of New Mexico has found that both men and women rated members of the opposite sex with symmetrical faces and bodies as more attractive and in better health than their less symmetrical counterparts.

Beauty really is also just skin-deep, at least among Caucasians. A study published in the International Journal of Primatology found that a light, yellowish complexion looks the healthiest to us. The skin colour could indicate a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, the pigments of which are known to change the skin’s hue. More reason to eat your vegetables.

The gender-specific components to beauty are highly predictable. Men, on average, tend to be attracted to women who are shorter than they are, have a youthful appearance, full breasts, and a low waist-hip ratio. Women like men with broad shoulders, relatively narrow waists, V-shaped torsos and who are taller. Middle Earth may be one of the few places where hobbits do well – online dating website eHarmony allegedly only matches women with men taller than them following a series of complaints


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