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Attractiveness
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  1. Attractiveness Is “beautiful” or “handsome” synonymous with “good”?

  2. Is beauty only skin deep? • Is attractiveness a superficial feature? • The survival of a genetic line hinges on mate selection. • Like it or not, physical appearance plays a major role in life. • 82% of males and 93% of females “are actively oriented toward maintaining an attractive appearance.”

  3. Is beauty culturally universal? • 6 month old infants turn their heads toward attractive faces and away from unattractive faces (Rubenstein, Kalakanis, & Longlois (1999). • People in different cultures generally agree on which faces are attractive (Cunningham et al. 1995; Langlois et al. 2000; Perrett et al. 1994)

  4. Looking up to leaders • Since 1900, the taller candidate has won 19 of 28 presidential elections • Obama 6’2”, McCain 5’9” • Only 3 of 43 American presidents -- James Madison, Benjamin Harrison and Martin Van Buren -- have been under 5 feet 7 inches

  5. Size matters • For Men • Half of all CEOs are 6’ or more. • A 2004 study found that every inch of height adds $789 in salary per year. • The study controlled for gender, weight and age. • Someone who is 6’ tall earns $5,525 more annually than someone who is 5’6”. • For Women • Taller women earned more as a result of their height, though they gained only two-thirds that of the men. • In a British study, both sexes judged taller women to be more intelligent, assertive, independent and ambitious.

  6. The “Beauty is good” stereotype • Dion, Berschied, & Walster (1972) developed the “beauty is good” stereotype. • Children’s fairly tales equate beauty with goodness • Popular TV reality shows emphasize vanity • Celebutards: Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan • Tabloids and women’s magazines focus on looks

  7. A double standard for attractiveness? • Older male news anchors • Daine Sawyer = 64 • Wolf Blitzer = 62 • Bill O’Reilly = 61 • Katie Couric = 53 • Older male actors • Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis • Heavy set actors vs. actresses • Men become “distinguished” with age

  8. Biology and attractiveness • Evolutionary selection: • facial attractiveness affects mate selection and the likelihood of reproductive success.

  9. Facial symmetry • Facial symmetry and proportionality is preferred • Bilateral symmetry: left and right sides of the face are mirror images • Proportionality: equally sized features

  10. Asymmetrical faces

  11. Averageness • faces with average features are preferred • faces that are closer to average are consistently rated as more attractive

  12. Sexual dimorphism • For female faces, greater feminization is preferred • For male faces, results are mixed • More recent studies show a slight preference for feminized male faces • Women’s preferences shift toward masculine faces during ovulation • “Men, gay or straight, prefer high sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex that they are attracted to.

  13. Sexual dimorphism • Examples of masculinized (right) and feminized (left) versions of a male face.