Pretty Is as Pretty Does
Physical Attractiveness Nosedives if You Act Ugly and Gets a Boost by a Beautiful Personality
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 3, 2007 -- To be more physically attractive to the opposite sex, you
may want to give your personality a makeover.
A new study states that "personality goes a long way toward determining
your attractiveness; it can even change people's impressions of how good
looking you are."
The study included 78 college students at a northeastern U.S.
First, they watched a computer screen display 36 facial photos of members of
the opposite sex.
The students rated the physical attractiveness of the people in the photos
on a scale of 1 (extremely unattractive) to 10 (extremely attractive).
Next, the students were asked to count down from a large number by sevens
and then up by 13s.
That task was all about distracting them before they saw the photos again.
As the photos reappeared, the students heard about each person's
Some were described as being honest, humorous, mature, intelligent, polite,
and helpful. Others were called abusive, offensive, unstable, cruel, unfair,
Lastly, the students repeated their physical attractiveness ratings and
noted whether they wanted to befriend or date the people in the photos.
Personality rocked the results.
People who looked good lost ground if they had nasty personalities. And
those in the middle of the pack or further down on the looks scale benefited
from an admirable personality.
Likewise, people weren't keen to date or befriend the beautiful but cruel.
Instead, they'd rather spend time with someone with a
The results were a bit stronger for women. But "personality was of great
importance to both genders," write the researchers.
They included Gary Lewandowski Jr., PhD, assistant professor of psychology
at Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Single students and students in romantic relationships both connected
physical attractiveness and personality.
The bottom line: "While it may still be important to be physically
attractive, it is also important to convey a desirable personality," write
They add that "these findings are particularly encouraging as cosmetic surgery becomes increasingly common."
Their study appears in the scholarly journal Personal