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As Time Goes By … Do We Believe We Get More Attractive?

24.04.2006


Research news from the European Journal of Social Psychology



Recent studies investigating individuals’ perception of themselves as becoming better looking across time have found that we think we really do get more attractive each day. This research is revealed today in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

In an amusing and popular country and western song from 1980, Mac Davis commented how he couldn’t wait to look in the mirror, because he seemed to get better looking every day. Was he right? Cardiff University social psychologist Geoffrey Haddock found that individuals’ appraisals of their own physical attractiveness are biased in a manner that allows them to reach a desired conclusion about themselves.


Dr. Haddock’s research looked at two different aspects of time-based appraisals: whether we perceive our past self as less attractive than our current self and whether we perceive our future self to be more attractive than our current self.

One experiment involved 20 female undergraduates who rated the extent to which they considered themselves attractive compared to their peers at the present time and also how they perceived their attractiveness at the beginning of the academic year. Overall, the results found that participants perceived themselves as more attractive now than in the past.

A second study investigated whether people perceive their future self to be more attractive then their current self. 25 female undergraduates judged their current self-perception of attractiveness and how attractive they thought they would be in 5 years time. The results showed that participants perceived their future self as more attractive than their current self.

Haddock concludes that “the results extend current knowledge about both the processes underlying our beliefs about physical attractiveness and whether time affects self-perceptions of attractiveness.”

Polly Young | alfa
Further information:
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ejsp

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