Stigma and Perception of Attractiveness: Strange Finding
April 15, 2011 4 Comments
Ever gone on a date only to find out that they’re secretly a shoplifter? Did you find them more or less physically attractive after that? Via NCBI ROFL (a great blog for quirky science), I found out that there was a study about negative information’s effect on how attractive undergrads found smiling and nonsmiling faces. If the person was described as bad for one reason or another, would they be less attractive?
I haven’t read the article, but the abstract is interesting. As expected, smiling faces were more attractive overall than non-smiles. The researchers were looking at the impact of the negative information, and gender differences appeared:
Analysis indicated that smiling faces were rated more attractive than nonsmiling faces, consistent with previous research. There was a significant interaction of participants’ sex and target description, in which women rated smiling faces less attractive after exposure to negative information about the target, but men rated smiling faces more attractive after exposure to negative information.
Well, that makes perfect evolutionary sense. After all, men would look for…
Just kidding. I’m not going to make up an evolutionary just-so story. If I had to make a guess with very low confidence, I’d say it’s more likely a socialized phenomenon anyway.
The different negative facts were one of these:
- Convicted of insider trading on the stock market
- Commits adultery on a regular basis
- Alcoholic with anger management issues
- Addicted to child’s Ritalin medication
- Addicted to gambling after cashing paycheck
- Convicted of petty theft of expensive jewelry
So apparently, if you want men to find you more attractive when you smile, just tell him you have serious problems.