Why attractiveness matters

Do good-looking people really benefit from their looks, and in what ways? A team of researchers found that attractive people have more social relationships and an increased sense of psychological well-being.
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Updated on Dec 25, 2009 05:12 PM IST
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IANS | By, Washington

Do good-looking people really benefit from their looks, and in what ways? A team of researchers found that attractive people have more social relationships and an increased sense of psychological well-being.

This seems like common sense, and might be why we spend billions of dollars each year trying to become more attractive.

However, the study also determines that the importance of attractiveness is not universal; rather, it is determined by where we live.

In urban areas, individuals experience a high level of social choice, and associating with attractive people is one of those choices.

In other words, a free market of relationships makes attractiveness more important for securing social connections and consequently for feeling good.

In rural areas, relationships are less about choice and more about who is already living in the community. Therefore, attractiveness is less likely to be associated with making friends and feeling good.

Victoria C. Plaut, a psychologist at the University of Georgia, and her team studied women at mid-life, based on data related to their well-being, social connectedness, and their body attractiveness (waist-to-hip ratio).

Plaut points out "the importance of attractiveness varies with certain socio-cultural environments, and, if you think about it, urban environments are actually a relatively recent addition to human life", according to a Georgia release.

These findings were published in the latest issue of Personal Relationships.

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