Many studies have shown, and common sense dictates, that good looks greatly benefit those who have them. Prettier people tend to have more social relationships, and reap the psychological benefits as a result. What may not be so widely known, however, is that the relevance of physical appearance varies based on geography.
According to a study published in Personal Relationships, The importance of attractiveness depends on the social environment where we live. Attractiveness does matter in more socially mobile, urban areas (and from a woman's point of view actually indicates psychological well-being), but it is far less relevant in rural areas.
In urban areas individuals experience a high level of social choice, and associating with attractive people is one of those choices. In other words, in urban areas, a free market of relationships makes attractiveness more important for securing social connections and consequently for feeling good. In rural areas, relationships are less about choice and more about who is already living in the community. Therefore, attractiveness is less likely to be associated with making friends and feeling good.
Furthermore, urban women need not have below average looks in order to experience a diminished sense of well-being and social life. The research team studied women at mid-life in the U.S. based on data related to their well-being, social connectedness, and their body attractiveness (assessed with a calculation of their waist-to-hip ratio).
Lead author Victoria C. Plaut points out, "In the field of psychology, research results are generally seen as having a natural and universal applicability. This research suggests that this is far from being the case. Rather, the importance of attractiveness varies with certain sociocultural environments, and, if you think about it, urban environments are actually a relatively recent addition to human life."
Citation: Victoria C. Plaut, Glenn Adams, Stephanie L. Anderson, 'Does attractiveness buy happiness? "It depends on where you're from', Personal Relationships, December 2009, 16(4), 619 - 630; doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2009.01242.x
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Kudos To "The Independent" Newspaper For Debunking Nibiru "Blood Moon" Hoax
- USDA Microbiologist Warns Bacteria In Vaping Products May Be A Health Concern
- Your Microbiome Did Not Cause Your Weight Problem
- Control Cancer By Making The Tumor Cell Environment Hostile
- 20 Cent School Intervention Stops Unhealthy Weight Gain In Children
- A Great Blitz Game
- Sudden Death In Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - The Exercise Didn't Do It
- "Hi Robert. Thank you for responding to my comment and the information you kindly provided. I consider..."
- "lol everybiody is lying but the nutcase that calls himself scientist and havent seen jack shit..."
- "Yes, it's just totally silly and no-one with a decent background in astronomy would give it any..."
- "So your absolutely certain and can absolutely guarantee that its not real mr walker. Charles ..."
- "Great, glad to have helped Michael, thanks :)...."
- Breast Cancer: Genomics May Show Where Chemo Might Not Be Needed
- Gallup Poll: Great Example of How to Bias a Social Science Study
- Another Kardashian Craze Debunked
- Fad Friday: Ditch The Body Wrap!
- Commonly Cited Stat of 10 Bacteria for Every 1 Human Cell Is Wrong
- Why The EpiPen And Other Generic Drugs Are So Expensive
- Heart failure in the elderly set to triple by 2060
- Up to 80 percent of heart failure patients denied therapy to reduce hospitalization and death
- Increased risk of death for heart failure patients with each NHS hospital admission
- Nebivolol prevents anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity
- Traffic accidents increased by 50 percent in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillator