The Ugly Values of Beautiful People
The beautiful are different from you and me. But not in the ways we think.
That’s the conclusion of new research from Israel, which confirms the truism that we idealize attractive people, and suggests that—at least as far as women are concerned—the pedestal we place them on is largely unearned.
“Despite the widely accepted ‘What is beautiful is good’ stereotype, our findings suggest that the beautiful strive for conformity rather than independence, and for self-promotion rather than tolerance,” writes a research team led by Lihi Segal-Caspi of the Open University of Israel.
In other words, the positive traits we attribute to good-looking people are simply a matter of stereotyping. But this study, published in the journal Psychological Science, suggests the unusually attractive have a distinct set of values—and they’re not, well, pretty.
The experiment featured 236 university students (mean age 29), all of whom completed detailed questionnaires designed to uncover their personality traits and deeply held values. Half the participants—118 women—were then videotaped for roughly one minute apiece as they walked around a table and read a weather forecast while looking into the camera