When we meet someone for the first time, we instinctively make a judgment about them based on their looks. It is only later when things like intelligence, character, and personality begin to have an influence on the way that we think about other people. Over the years, there has been an increasing interest from the scientific community in the underlying psychology of beauty. Why are certain people and things considered attractive, while others are not?
Daniel Hamermesh has a background in economics. By applying the same analytical skills that he has used to interpret the world’s financial markets to the question of beauty, he has drawn a number of conclusions. The clearest finding from his research has been that beauty is connected with financial success.
While most of us would be horrified by the idea of our physical appearance dictating our chances of success in life, Hamermesh’s research suggests that this is exactly what happens. Not only do businesses that place a premium on beauty record higher revenues, but the general public seems to prefer these businesses.
Regardless of the attitudes that we might profess to ourselves, or to others, most of us prefer to make purchases from more attractive people. This has huge repercussions in a number of different areas. For example, this bias could even have an impact on the verdicts that jurors hand down in criminal trials. Check out Ap Psychology for more articles about psychology.
Getting Away With It
One of the more interesting findings of Hamermesh’s research was that, regardless of our professed beliefs and what we think, we are all still subject to the same influences and biases. This is why it is possible for attractive people, women, in particular, to get away with things that others cannot.
However, this can be a double-edged sword. Beautiful women often have a very different experience of the world to the rest of us. It is easy for attractive women to develop higher than normal self-esteem. Coupled with constantly being made to feel as if they are special, this can have an impact, positive or negative, on how a woman views herself and those around her.
It isn’t all roses for beautiful people, however. For example, low self-esteem is far more common among attractive people than many of us realize. In some cases, this is due to a distorted self-image, leading to women believing that they are not attractive. This can cause them to become distrusting of other people, who they view as liars.
In other cases, attractive women who feel genuinely shy and reserved have reported hostile reactions from others when they withdraw and don’t conform to expectations. One new study claims that beautiful people often have a hidden selfish streak to them; this is an example of how prevalently these ideas run.
Beauty is a complex and interesting phenomenon. Although beauty plays a role in all of our lives in some way, it is something that we have really only recently begun to understand. As we undertake more research, we are finding that many of our conventional ideas about what beauty means are being challenged, while others have been vindicated.