SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Do people judge others based purely on their physical attractiveness?
Most of us know it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover. New research, however, found that’s exactly what most people do, even across different cultures and regions of the world.
The study found attractiveness has a positive “halo effect,” in which people attribute socially desirable personality traits to physically attractive people.
The study explored whether the “halo effect,” or “beauty googles,” existed beyond Western countries, looking at 45 countries in 11 world regions.
Data collected through the Psychological Science Accelerator asked participants to rate 120 faces on one of several traits.
Across all 11 world regions, male and female faces rated as more attractive were also rated as more “confident, emotionally stable, intelligent, responsible, sociable, and trustworthy. These findings, thus, provide evidence that the ‘attractiveness halo effect’ can be found cross-culturally,” the study states.
Dr. Carlota Batres, director of the Preferences Lab at Franklin and Marshall College, said, “The results of our study provide evidence for what I am calling a ‘beauty goggles’ effect, where attractiveness clouds personality judgements.” And “beauty googles” are cross-cultural, Batres said.
The study’s findings — that we are “blinded by beauty” — can have real-world effects. For instance, in jury studies, jurors recommend less severe sentences for more attractive defendants on trial. This could partially be explained by the study’s results, that more attractive faces are judged as more “responsible” and “trustworthy,” researchers wrote.
The study “Examining the attractiveness halo effect across cultures” was published this week in the scientific journal “Current Psychology.”