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17 Psychological Facts About Beauty That’ll Surprise You

There’s a famous saying that goes: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” However, there’s way more to beauty than meets the eye. These psychological facts about beauty might change your perspective and enlighten you on how the human brain works. 

Beauty has always been an integral part of life, from beauty pageants and Hollywood starlets to runways and magazine covers. It is something that can impact the way one experiences life on Earth – but why should it have such a profound effect on our existence? 

Simply put, beautiful things make us happy – they move and inspire us. Looking beyond the surface allows us to find beauty in things we can’t even see. That said, these intriguing facts might give you a greater depth of understanding that’s needed to feel beauty beyond the physical. 

Before jumping in, you might also enjoy these interesting facts about human behavior. Without further adieu, here are some epic psychological facts about beauty. 

female-smiling-into-a-hand-mirror

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

17 Psychological Facts About Beauty

Did you know that physical attractiveness is linked to better health? Yip, beauty is not just skin deep, and evidence suggests it may decrease one’s susceptibility to disease, parasites, and other illnesses. 

Well, there are plenty more surprises coming your way – let’s get started. 

1. The Halo Effect Is a Cognitive Bias That Effects Our Assumptions of Someone Based On Their Appearance 

Also known as “pretty privilege” in today’s modern society, the halo effect is a type of cognitive bias that affects the impression and assumption we make of someone based on their looks. 

People who are more attractive than the average Joe often receive preferential treatment in private and public spaces. They are treated with more kindness and respect – for example, being helped first before others or allowed to skip lines. 

Attractive people are paid more, given more opportunities, and receive special treatment. In fact, unattractive individuals are more readily blamed for crime compared to attractive ones (Ted Bundy is the perfect example of this). 

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2. You Actually Do Look Better in the Mirror Than in Photographs

Great news everyone! You actually do look better in person than in photographs. So, don’t allow that embarrassing picture you were tagged in five years ago to have a hold on you anymore.

The reason you think you look less attractive is that the proximity of your face to the camera causes the lens to distort certain features. It can make some aspects of your face look more prominent than they are in real life. You’ll notice this, especially when you’re trying to take a selfie on your smartphone – the lenses of almost all front cameras tend to be an ultra-wide angle. 

The psychological effect of this is increased insecurities and anxieties among the general society as we rely more and more on our phones. This distorted self-image is even further worsened by what we see on social media, which are likely littered, photoshopped, and touched-up versions of others. 

Read Next: Facts about anxiety

woman-looking-in-mirror psychological facts about beauty

Photo by Miriam Alonso from Pexels 

3. Scientists Use Maths to Determine Someone’s Level of Attractiveness

This is known as the Golden Ratio, written by ancient Greek philosophers to determine if something was beautiful. They literally saw beauty as a mathematical principle to work out the proportion, symmetry, and size to conclude one’s level of attractiveness. 

Interestingly, scientists used the Golden Ratio just recently to determine that Jodie Comer is the most beautiful woman in the world, with 94.52% accurate facial features. 

It essentially outlines what the proportion of a face should be and how they harmonize with each other. For example, the length of facial structures and the nose or chin size in relation to other areas. 

Read Next: Interesting facts about ancient Greece

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels 

4. Beauty Standards Are Ever-Evolving Throughout the Centuries

Like fashion and design, beauty standards are constantly evolving over the centuries. These changes occur as a reflection of its current society and era. Clear faces, bright eyes, and tinted lips, for example, were praised during the Victorian era, whereas humped noses were a sign of aristocracy in ancient Rome

Different countries and cultures also have their own set of beauty standards that heavily impact the way people view themselves and others. For example, having fair skin is glorified in India and many East Asian countries. So, the majority of their makeup and skin products are geared towards skin lightening. 

You might enjoy reading my article on psychology facts about life.

portrait-of-beautiful-woman

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels 

5. The Left Side of the Face Is Prettier

No human face is perfectly symmetrical and identical. However, a study by Wake Forest University in 2012 found that the left side “exhibits a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing.” So, next time you pose for a picture, try to show your left side more (wink). 

You might enjoy my article on psychological facts about humans.

6. Beautiful People Are Happier

It’s all about your self-confidence, really. It goes hand-in-hand with happiness, and if you’re more confident in your appearance, that can lead to a warmer and more open personality

One study concluded that high-school students who were considered good-looking in their yearbook photos had experienced greater well-being later in life. In general, more people are drawn to you when you’re stunning. This means that attractive individuals will have an easier time making friends and will be less likely to deal with getting bullied. 

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Photo by Monstera Production from Pexels

7. Being Too Beautiful Can Squander Job and Scholarship Opportunities 

Being beautiful is not always just sunshine and rainbows – sometimes, pretty people are frowned upon or held back by jealous folks around them. This is especially prevalent toward the same sex. 

For example, a person in power might want to hire a candidate of the opposite sex they find pleasing to the eyes while rejecting an attractive person of the same sex regardless of their qualification. 

beautiful-female-sitting-with-laptop

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels 

8. Attractive People Have Higher IQs 

Despite being portrayed as tools or dumb blondes on the big screen, you might find it surprising that beautiful people are more intelligent. Forget those stereotypes of smart people always being nerds and highly unattractive — good-looking men and women may very well be the most intelligent people in the room. 

Researchers at the London School of Economics in Britain monitored the academic intelligence and physical appearance of 17,000+ people from childhood up to early adulthood. They found that beautiful women have IQs 11.4 points above the average, and attractive men have a higher IQ of 13.6 points. 

attractive-female-reading-a-book

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels 

9. People Are Attracted to Partners That Remind Them of Their Parents

This one is more of a theory than a fact, but it tends to happen so often that it might as well be part of this list. Imprinting and attachment theory suggests that many people tend to attract (and often marry) partners who possess specific attributes of one or both of their parents. 

Read Next: Psychological facts about crushes

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Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels 

10. The United States Is the Country With the Most Cosmetic Surgery Since 2021

Move over Korea and Brazil, the United States has just recently taken the top spot for the most cosmetic surgeries per country. 24% of Americans have undergone some kind of cosmetic surgery, with more than 15 million procedures taking place every year. These procedures are mainly common among 40-50 year-olds. 

Out of all the cosmetic surgeries in the U.S., liposuctions and breast augmentations are the most popular. 

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Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels

11. On Average, Women Spend About 55 Minutes on Their Makeup Everyday

Most women do really take forever to get ready before going out. So, it’s no surprise that they spend 55 minutes on average just to do their makeup. And that’s not even counting hair-styling, long pampering showers, skin-care routines, and outfit selection. 

Makeup acts and stimulates three of our senses, including sight, touch, and smell. This positive stimulation can induce sensory as well as psychological pleasure. 

Read Next: Psychology facts about women

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Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels 

12. Research Suggests That Others See Us to Be 20% More Attractive Than What We Think We Are

Yip. You are 20% more attractive to other people than you are to yourself, according to a new study. When looking in the mirror, all you see is your reflection. However, others see way more: your smile, shyness, intelligence, sense of humor, and kindness. 

All of these positive attributes influence the minds of others to perceive you as more attractive. 

men-and-women-smiling

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

13. A Psychological Theory Suggests That Beauty Is a Form of Pleasure

Is beauty a form of pleasure? Well, some studies suggest that being exposed to more beauty is associated with activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex. 

This part of your brain is responsible for the monitoring, learning, and memory of the reward value of reinforcers. These findings support the notion that more beautiful objects are more pleasing. 

14. Babies Visually Prefer More Symmetrical Facial Features

Are babies always staring at you in public? Congratulations, you are a head-turner. It turns out infants can stare at attractive faces longer because they find it interesting. Plus, beautiful faces are more symmetrical, and babies find them easier to look at. 

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels 

15. Body Dysmorphic Disorder Is When Someone Can’t Stop Focusing on Their Physical Flaws

Body dysmorphic disorder, or simply body dysmorphia, is a mental illness that affects around 2% of the general population. This condition causes you to feel constantly worried about your flawed body parts. 

It’s similar to an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), where sufferers spend hours concerned that something is wrong with their looks. 

16. The Orbitofrontal Cortex Responds More Actively to Attractive Faces 

The orbitofrontal cortex part of the brain reacts with greater activity upon seeing an attractive face compared to an average one. This can be proven with an fMRI scan of the brain when being shown the faces of beautiful people. 

Read Next: Psychological facts about the brain

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Photo by Vitória Santos from Pexels 

17. Some Believe That The Idea of Beauty Is Learned and Not Developed 

This would mean that beauty isn’t real, but instead, it’s a myth or a societal construct. While this may contradict the actual brain activity that takes place when someone sees another beautiful person, some believe that this behavior is learned and not naturally developed. 

This belief is supported by the huge influence that the mass media has on our current beauty standards. If it weren’t for media outlets and celebrities, would Western society as a whole think that big lips and high cheekbones are beautiful? 

What is shoved in our faces as the current beauty standard on a daily basis can really alter what we see as beautiful. 

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Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels 

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