Being nice makes you more attractive, according to science

Growing up, your mum might have told you it’s what’s on the inside that counts, while you rolled your eyes and applied a fresh coat of Rimmel’s Heather Shimmer. But it turns out she was right: being a good person does make you more attractive to other people (whether you’re wearing lipstick or not). At least, that’s according to a new study from China.

As Scientific American reports, researchers took sixty men and sixty women and divided them into three groups. They showed them photos of people with neutral expressions, all taken from Google, and asked them to rate their attractiveness. Two weeks later, they asked the groups to rate the photos again. This time, they supplied one group with negative info about the people in the pics’ personalities, told one group how great the people were, and left the third group to go with their gut.

While there were few differences on the first round of rating, once two of the groups were armed with the alleged personality info, things changed. The “nice” people were suddenly considered more attractive, while the same people labelled as “mean” dropped a few notches.

The research team concluded that our perception of someone’s personality makes them more or less attractive to us, with people with positive traits generally seen as more physically attractive. Or as they say in their paper, ‘We find that “what is good is beautiful,” with personality reflecting desired traits as facial attractiveness.’ They’ve dubbed this ‘the halo effect’. Aw.

Image via Rory MacLeod’s Flickr.

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Diane Shipley