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Tag : attraction


It’s not that meanies are more physically attractive than everyone else. They’re just very good at fooling others.

Mean people are attractive because of their meanness, not in spite of it. Meanness is more officially known as the “Dark Triad” of personality traits—narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. A recent study shows that people who exhibit these traits are better than people who score lower on the Dark Triad at making themselves appear more attractive.

The meanies aren’t necessarily more physically attractive than anyone else, they are just better at using what the study calls “adornments” (clothes, makeup and the like) to make themselves seem more appealing. The researchers, Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube at Washington University in St. Louis, had their subjects remove all makeup, pull long hair back into a ponytail and don a white T-shirt and grey sweatpants. They were rated on their attractiveness in this unadorned state, set loose to adorn themselves to their hearts’ content, and rated again. All three Dark Triad traits were associated with higher attractiveness in the adorned state, when controlling for attractiveness in the unadorned state. So you can take some small comfort in knowing that mean people are just as ugly as the rest of us, they’re just better at fooling everyone into thinking they’re hot.

The study suggests a possible reason why these subjects were compelled to make themselves more attractive: “When people high in Dark Triad traits dress-up, they may experience greater increments in self-esteem or derive more satisfaction from the additional attention they receive, compelling them to continue dressing well.”

And it has been well-documented that the physically attractive are seen as more likeable, further explaining the popularity of the bad boys in their motorcycle jackets who make the ladies swoon, and the cruel, selfish high school girls with expensive hair and logo-emblazoned t-shirts. As “Mean Girls”—yet another incisive cultural study—put it: “The weird thing about hanging out with Regina was that I could hate her, and at the same time, I still wanted her to like me.”

The inexplicable pull of Regina George, the cruel, popular ringleader, goes beyond just her physical beauty, artificial or not. Her Dark Triad personality traits may actually be helping her. Psychopaths have long been characterized as outwardly charming, and research suggests that narcissists tend to make better first impressions. Studies show that after brief exposure to a new person, people rated those who ranked high for narcissism as more likeable.

But whether your personal Regina George gets hit by a bus or not, beauty will fade with time, and even the strongest first impression can’t hide a truly dark interior forever. So chin up, because someday you’ll be living in a big old city, and all they’re ever gonna be is mean.

[Scientific American]


Men cannot be blamed for looking at other women as it is in their genes to find strangers more attractive, a study has suggested.

New research shows that while women are drawn to male faces that look familiar, men are more likely to rate someone they have never seen before as more attractive.

It is thought the reason may be that men have evolved to maximise their reproductive success by mating with as many partners as possible.

Researchers at the University of Stirling and the University of Glasgow came up with the findings after showing men and women pictures of dozens of different faces. The more women in the study saw pictures of the same man’s face, the more attracted they were to him.

But the study, published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour, found that the men who took part rated the women as less attractive when they saw them for a second time.

Researchers say the results may be partly explained by the so-called Coolidge effect – where men are aroused by the novelty of a new sexual partner more than women.

It’s named after an anecdote attributed to 30th US President Calvin Coolidge.

During a farm visit, when his wife was told there was only one cockerel and many hens because the cockerel would mate several times a day, she reportedly said: ‘Tell that to Mr Coolidge’.

When the president asked if it was with the same hen each time and told no he allegedly said: ‘Tell that to Mrs Coolidge.’

Anthony Little from Stirling University’s School of Natural Sciences, said: “Men found female faces they had already seen as less attractive and less sexy, especially for short-term relationships.

“There is a tendency for males to pursue a large number of partners as they can dramatically increase their reproductive success by mating with multiple females.”