“I don’t judge by appearance” – really?
You will probably agree that we should not be guided by their appearance when judging other people. Many of us directly declare that “I do not judge people by appearance.” Still, we often unconsciously judge by appearance.
A review of research on this subject (Hatfield, Sprecher, 1986, as cited in: Wojciszke, 2006; Feingold, 1992) shows that pretty people are perceived as more affectionate, sensitive, balanced, outgoing, kind, interesting, intelligent and mentally healthier. They are also considered happier than people who are physically unattractive and have a better chance of being happy in the future. As children, they are seen by teachers as smarter, more polite, promising more hopes for the future, and getting better grades. They receive help from others more often and are treated more kindly. Handsome men start working with a higher salary and achieve more in their careers, while pretty women get married more often and faster, and in addition to more affluent and better educated men. Pretty people are also burdened with less responsibility for bad deeds, but here is an exception – this does not apply to situations in which they used their beauty to do something bad (e.g. to extort something).
How is it really? Is there any relationship between physical attractiveness and other characteristics? In fact, this relationship is only about social skills. The pretty people cope better with contact with other people, which is probably the result of the fact that they are treated better by others from an early age. Since childhood, they experience warm and kind treatment, thanks to which they learn that social contacts are pleasant. This, in turn, affects the greater willingness and frequency of being among people and, as a result, better skills in this area.
- Feingold, A. (1992). Good-looking people are not what we think. Psychological Bulletin, 111(2), 304-341.
- Wojciszke, B. (2006). Człowiek wśród ludzi. Zarys psychologii społecznej. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar.
Author: Maja Kochanowska