- Studies show that neonatal nurses tend to devote more attention to more attractive, healthy infants with normal birth weights. They devote less attention to less attractive babies with low Apgar scores.
- Researchers have noted that mothers tend to give more attention to their most attractive children, who then exhibit better traits and more socialized behavior than their less attractive siblings.
- Teachers expect more attractive children to perform well, leading to more attention, less punishment, and better grades.
- Regardless of the number of sexual partners a man or woman has been with, the more attractive a presumed new sexual partner is, the less likely a person is to take safe-sex precautions.
- The child of a couple in their 30s tends to find older faces more attractive than a child born to parents in their 20s.
- Several studies have shown that college students tend to rate their teachers’ performance more on the basis of physical attractiveness than on the content of their lectures or on their ability to communicate.
Birth control pills can alter a woman's mating preferences
- Birth control pills affect both a woman’s hormone levels and to whom they become attracted. Specifically, women taking birth control pills are more attracted to men with more pronounced masculine features than those who aren’t taking the pill. However, masculine traits are linked to higher testosterone levels, aggressive behavior, and even higher-than-average divorce rates.
- Exceptionally attractive women are at a disadvantage when seeking a job associated with particularly masculine qualities. For example, if a more attractive woman and a less attractive woman compete for a job as a tow truck driver or operating a switchboard, the more attractive woman rarely wins the job. Researchers suggest that a highly attractive woman is perceived as less capable of meeting the job’s requirement for masculine qualities than an unattractive woman.
- Studies show that physically attractive people tend to have better paying jobs in higher-level positions than do their less attractive counterparts. This preference is collectively referred to as “beauty bias.”
- Attractive defendants are not only less likely to be convicted, but when they are, they are likely to suffer less severe punishment than an unattractive person convicted of the same offense.
- A defendant accused of raping an unattractive victim is less likely to be found guilty than one accused of raping an attractive victim.
- Attractive politicians typically receive more news coverage than less attractive politicians.
- To a child, physical attractiveness is often associated with being smarter and friendlier. Studies show that children often will select playmates based on physical attractiveness.
- Researchers have found that exposure to idealized body images lowers women’s satisfaction with their own attractiveness.
That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they're pretty. It's like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.
- John Green, Paper Towns
- When kids misbehave and must be disciplined, being more attractive means less punishment. In other words, an attractive child’s severe transgression is less likely to be seen as a display of chronic antisocial behavior than an equally severe offense by an unattractive child.
- Television news directors are far more likely to air the killing or injury of an attractive victim than a plain one.
- Aristotle noted that “personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.”
- According to the Hebrew Bible, an Egyptian pharaoh was so attracted to the beauty of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, that he presented Abraham with sheep, oxen, asses, male and female slaves, she-asses, and camels.
- To become more attractive in the Middle Ages, affluent noblewomen would swallow arsenic or dab bat’s blood on their skin to improve their complexion. As recently as the 18th century, American women washed themselves in the warm urine of a young boy to erase their freckles.
- Charles Darwin noted a universal motive to become attractive even when it required “wonderfully great suffering.”
- In virtually every culture, men find younger women more attractive than older ones, most likely because human females are able to reproduce for only a limited time.
Vaginal cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular
- Thousands of women are seeking elective surgeries that offer more attractive private parts. For example, an increasing number of women are paying thousands of dollars for genital sculpting, such as labiaplasty (surgery on the labia), hymenoplasty (surgically repairing or replacing the hymen to give the illusion of virginity), augmentation labiaplasty (fat is removed from another part of the patient and transferred to the labia majora), and vulvar lipoplasty (removing unwanted fat from the mons pubis or labia majora).
- In most cultures, women are more attracted to older men than they are to younger ones. Researchers explain that this is because men are capable of fathering children for nearly their entire adult lives and older men typically have more resources.
- The pursuit to become more attractive is a $160 billion-a-year global industry that includes weight-loss programs, cosmetics, skin and hair care, perfumes, cosmetic surgery, health clubs, and hormone injections. Americans spend more money per year on beauty enhancements than they do on education.
- To the ancient Hebrews and Christians, physical beauty was a reward from God and its opposite was punishment. In fact, physical attraction is mentioned several times in the Bible, such as the following: “Joseph was handsome in form and appearance” (Genesis 39.6), “[David was] . . . a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech and a handsome person” (1 Samuel 16:12), and “Now in all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks” (2 Samuel 14:25).
- Prehistoric humans appreciated the power of physical attractiveness. For example, the most famous femme of the Paleolithic Age, the Venus of Willendorf—a 25,000-year-old limestone statue—is a faceless, Rubenesque woman with luxuriously coiffed tresses.
- Researchers note that young men are attracted to the hourglass figure, or a slender waist separating large breasts from generous hips. Researchers note a correlation between a woman’s hourglass figure and her reproductive ability.
- According to one study, a woman’s face is most beautiful and alluring once a month, exactly when she is at the peak of her fertility.
- Women are more likely to judge a man to be more attractive when they see another woman looking and smiling at him. For a male, the same man becomes less attractive.
Women rated men more attractive if other women were smiling at him
- Research has found that women prefer masculine-looking men when they are ovulating—but at other times of the month, they seek men with softer features, associated with more social and caring behavior.
- Researchers have wondered why, if nature prefers well proportioned bodies and symmetrical faces, everyone is not beautiful? In other words, wouldn’t “ugly” people have been bred out of the population? The answer is that humans invented clothes and cosmetics to improve appearance.
- Studies suggest that humans agree who is and isn’t attractive, both within and across ethnicity and culture. Researchers note that attraction is not merely in the eye of the beholder but that there are universal standards of attractiveness.
- Even though both attractive and unattractive people exhibit positive behaviors and traits, studies show that attractive people exhibit more positive behaviors and traits than unattractive individuals.
- Online dating research reveals that women are most concerned about a potential partner’s height, while men are more concerned about the weight of a possible date. Men even just an inch under the average height and women more than 20 pounds overweight have a tougher time getting a date.
A male rat prefers a variety sexual partners
- A male rat put into a cage with a previously unknown female rat usually begins their relationship with a frenzy of copulation. After a while, the male rat loses interest in sex and it’s hard to persuade it to copulate with the female. When a different female, however, is put in the cage, the male again begins copulation with the new rat—but again, only for a time. If this process is repeated with new females, the male will continue to copulate until it is totally exhausted, sometimes even beyond.
- A landmark study in 1966 by the University of Minnesota—Minneapolis gathered a group of 664 student volunteers. The study showed that there was little or no difference between introverted and extroverted personalities when it came to being liked by a date. In other words, young college adults were primarily concerned about the physical attractiveness of their date.
- Tall men have greater reproductive success than shorter men due to their greater ability to attract mates.
- Women show a stronger attraction toward males who have a shape consistent with the ideal hunting physique: strong shoulders, narrow waists, and broad chests and shoulders (without being too bulky). Men with a higher shoulder-to-hip ratio reported having sex at an early age and with more sexual partners.
- Researchers note that women perceive men with beards as having “the biological and social qualities that would enhance their value as husbands” and also consider them “more potent and more active, suggesting virility as well as physical attractiveness.” Additionally, female managers considered bearded men to be more competent. Male bosses, however, did not.
- A recent study found that women tended to date men who smelled like their fathers.
- Dr. David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist, recorded mating preferences for more than 10,000 people from 37 cultures and found that a woman’s physical attractiveness was at the top or near the top of every man’s list. He concluded that, therefore, nothing was more important to a marriage-minded woman than her good looks.
Cross-culturally, men consider a woman's appearance important
- Researchers have found that adrenaline makes a potential date more attractive.
- Both men and women rated symmetrical members of the opposite sex as more attractive and in better health than their less symmetrical counterparts. Additionally, men with a higher degree of symmetry had more sexual partners than men of lower symmetry.
- Estrogen slows bone growth in a woman’s lower face, chin, and brow, making her relatively smaller and shorter and her eyes more prominent. Women possessing these traits are typically viewed as more attractive because they help advertise reproductive health.
- Research reports that symmetrical men smell better to women, especially if a woman is menstruating. Researchers note, however, that detection of these scents seems to be a subconscious reaction.
- Researchers note that two people having similar genetics plays 34% of the role on friendship and mate selection. Additionally, if partners have similar genes, they are more likely to have a happy marriage.
- Researchers note that women are more likely to limit sexual intercourse to relationships involving affection and the possibility of marriage. Women also place more emphasis than men do on their possible partner’s socioeconomic status. Therefore, status along with the willingness and ability to invest affection and resources in a relationship often outweighs the effects of physical attraction in a woman’s selection of a mate.
Women who wear red are more attractive to men
- Men find women who wear red more attractive. In fact, a woman in red is more likely to be asked on a date and have more money spent on her. Coincidentally, the buttocks of some animals turn red when they are ready to mate.
- Studies note that sometimes those who have a high level of physical attractiveness seek less attractive mates in order to wield more power over them. In other words, less attractive people may attract more attractive mates because they are more likely to yield to their whims.
- In 1939, men ranked physical attractiveness 14th on a list of 18 desirable mate characteristics, but 8th in 1996. For the same period, women’s value of a prospective husband’s physical attractiveness jumped from 17th place to 13th. Analysts point to the increase in visual media, TV, movies, the Internet, and virtual reality as a likely cause of the shift. There was a concomitant decrease in the value of refinement, neatness, and chastity for both men and women.
- Chastity as a value factor in mate selection ranked 10th for men in 1939, but 16th in 1996. For women, it ranked 10th in 1939 and was next to last, 17th, in 1996. Researchers note the increased dissemination of birth control devices and the sexual revolution of the 1960s as a major influence of the shift.
- Infants from 2 to 6 months of age prefer to look longer at faces rated as attractive by adults than at faces rated as unattractive by adults.
- According to Cosmopolitan magazine, the blends of lavender and pumpkin scents make women more attractive to men. Women are attracted to the smell of cucumbers or black licorice.
- Studies show that a baby’s “attractiveness” rises with age from birth, peaks around the age of 9-11 months, and then declines again. Researchers speculate that babies close to their first birthdays are cuter because they need more attention as they are becoming more mobile and more prone to accidents. Babies that are assessed as “cute” have large eyes, small noses and mouths, and a large forehead.
- Men are more attracted to women whose bone structure is similar to their own mothers. Researchers call this “sexual imprinting,” which means faces we find attractive as adults were determined in childhood.
- People may look more attractive when a person is drunk because the drunken person is less likely to notice the asymmetry of a face.
Some women prefer “bad boys” as sexual partners
- Researchers have found that many women, despite expressed preferences, actually want nice guys as friends or long-term boyfriends, but preferred “bad boys” who were more physically attractive and willing to manipulate women into sexual activities as sexual partners.
- Women are less attracted to men with a “belly.” Men with a large amount of abdominal fat have lower levels of testosterone, which means lower sex drive and lower fertility.
- Soft materials such as fur, rayon, and silk accentuate a woman’s softer, feminine nature and can trigger an intense, protective response in men.
- The act of kissing releases masses of oxycontin, a “love potion” that helps couples bond. Through bonding, each lover’s face becomes personally attractive to the other.
1Kapp, Cassandra. “10 Things You Don’t Know about Attraction.” Cosmopolitan. 2012. Accessed: May 12, 2012.
2Patzer, Gordon L., Ph.D. Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined. New York, NY: Amacom, 2008.
3Perrett, David. In Your Face: The New Science of Human Attraction. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.