Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Impressions of Beauty May Demonstrate Why the Pretty Prosper

20.01.2006


We might not be able to resist a pretty face after all, according to a report from the University of Pennsylvania. Experiments in which subjects were given a fraction of a second to judge "attractiveness" offered further evidence that our preference for beauty might be hard-wired. People who participated in the studies were also more likely to associate pretty faces with positive traits.

"We’re able to judge attractiveness with surprising speed and on the basis of very little information," said Ingrid Olson, a professor in Penn’s Department of Psychology and researcher at Penn’s Center for Cognitive Neurosciece. "It seems that pretty faces ’prime’ our minds to make us more likely to associate the pretty face with a positive emotion."

Olson, along with co-author Christy Marshuetz, of Yale University recently published their findings in the journal Emotion, a publication of the American Psychological Association. The researchers set out to study cognitive processes behind a very real phenomenon: physically attractive people have advantages that unattractive people do not.



"Research has demonstrated time and again that there are tremendous social and economic benefits to being attractive," Olson said. "Attractive people are paid more, are judged more intelligent and will receive more attention in most facets of life.

"This favoritism, while poorly understood, seems to be innate and cross-cultural. Studies suggest that even infants prefer pretty faces," Olson said.

In their report, the researchers describe three experiments to investigate the preference for attractiveness.

The first study tested the idea that beauty can be assessed rapidly by asking study participants to rate faces pictures of non-famous males and females taken from three different high school yearbooks and the Internet shown for .013 seconds on a computer screen.

Although participants reported that they could not see the faces and that they were guessing on each trial, they were able to accurately rate the attractiveness of those faces.

"There are no definite rules to what kind of face can be called beautiful, but we chose faces of either extreme very ugly or very pretty," Olson said. "Seen rapidly, viewers were able to make what amounted to an unconscious, albeit accurate, assessment of physical beauty."

In their second and third experiments, the researchers explored the notion of "priming" whether or not seeing a pretty face makes a viewer more likely to associate that face with positive attributes. The second experiment involved rapidly showing a face on the screen, followed shortly thereafter by a word in white text on a black screen. Participants were instructed to ignore the face and were timed on how quickly they could classify the word as either good or bad. Almost uniformly, response times to good words, such as "laughter" or "happiness," were faster after viewing an attractive face.

"In a way, pretty faces are rewarding; they make us more likely to think good thoughts," said Olson. "There are some underlying processes going on in the brain that prejudice us to respond to attractive people better even if we are not aware of it."

They repeated the priming test in a third experiment, this time using images of houses, to see whether the beauty bias is a general phenomenon or one that is limited to socially important stimuli such as faces. Unlike faces, response times to good words were not faster after having viewed an attractive house.

"Faces hold a special power for us, perhaps more so than art or objects," Olson said. "The beauty bias has a real influence upon us, something we should be mindful of when dealing with others."

Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>