Beauty and brains? Or just beauty?

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There has been much controversy and debate about whether being attractive gives a person an advantage in life or better occupational success. As we've learned, physical attractiveness does affect our romantic relationships but does it also affect our careers?

Frustratingly enough, research says yes and no. A meta-analysis of multiple experimental studies found that "attractive" individuals were more successful than unattractive individuals in a number of social outcomes including popularity, dating experience, and physical health as well as initial job impressions. This can be attributed to the halo effect as more attractive people are perceived as having better job qualifications and intellectual competence. Professionals were just as susceptible as college students to the "biasing effect of attractiveness." In addition, it was found that men and women valued attractiveness on the same level. However, the correlation between attractiveness and occupational success may not be as strong as previously thought. The correlation was largest for social competence, intermediate for potency, and nearly zero for integrity and concern for others. Several researchers noted that although attractiveness may not be the most important element, it might be the deciding factor when employers are faced with job applicants that possess similar levels of qualifications or performance. One reason for this is due to both implicit personality theory and the lack of fit model. People assume that a person's attractiveness evokes stereotype-based expectation and are evaluated based on those expectations. Despite the fact, the magnitude of this biasing effect has been decreasing in recent years.

So, do you guys think that attractiveness can lead to better occupational success?

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The two full studies can be found here and here as well as many other online databases.

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Raspberry Ketone from Raspberry Ketone on August 26, 2012 9:12 PM

Beauty and brains? Or just beauty? - PSY 1001 Spring 2012 Section 014 and 015 Read More


I believe that under certain circumstances for certain companies individual attractiveness could play a large role in an employer's decision making process. When they hire a new employee they somewhat invest in that employee. A lot of views and opinions about a company can be biased toward their staff and how they look. Also, although I feel as though it is unfair to bias an interview based upon looks, there are those who hire attractive looking people for the stereotype that they are more sociable, will fit in better, and must know what they're doing-all hypothetical thought processing.

I agree, I think that whether people like it or not being attractive can often get you more in life than being unattractive. Strictly speaking about occupational success though, I think the job itself makes a difference. If you're working for a modeling agency, a clothing store, or any environment like that where either the way you look is your job or where you will be interacting face-to-face with people, attractiveness will count more than intelligence. But if you're working on designing a new engine for an airplane or developing some computer program for a company then being intelligent is what will get you the job - being attractive is just a perk.

In a perfect world a person would have occupational success solely due to their work ethic and quality of work. Unfortunately this is sometimes not the case. I believe that most of the time whether or not you are attractive doesn't matter towards a career, but there are bound to be some outliers in which some people were given jobs or had success at a job due to their attractiveness.

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This page contains a single entry by oumxx003 published on April 8, 2012 5:38 PM.

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