Physical attractiveness is to some extent subjective (thankfully). But some people are widely considered more "hot" than others, thanks to factors like facial symmetry and height, and seem to swan through life because of their good looks. They're the ones who wangle their way out of parking tickets and get free coffees in Pret.
But their appearance also plays a more influential role in their lives, affecting their political beliefs, new research suggests. The more physically attractive you are, the more likely you are to be rightwing and identify as conservative, according to a study published in the Journal of Public Economics.
“Controlling for socioeconomic status, we found that more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political efficacy, identify as conservative and identify as Republican,” wrote researchers Rolfe Daus Peterson of Susquehanna University and Carl L Palmer of Illinois State University in the US.
Previous studies have backed up the idea that if you're "hot" you're more likely to be treated better throughout your life. This is known as the "halo effect", whereby someone's perception of you can be influenced by a specific positive trait (in this case, good looks).
The positive treatment that good-looking people are used to as they grow up, and their easy-breezy life experiences, can shape their political views, the researchers said. They develop a "blind spot", whereby they're less able to understand others' hardships, an attribute that's more often associated with those on the political left.
"In a sense, attractive individuals have a blind spot that leads them to not see the need for more government support or aid in society," the researchers wrote. "Given that this is one of the tenets of the more liberal citizens, as well as supporters of the Democratic Party, we would expect that more attractive individuals would develop a worldview that is less supportive of government intervention and aid to others."
However, the authors admit that while physically attractive people find it easier to "navigate the social world" on average, they don't all have easier lives and, of course, they are not all rightwing. “All attractive people are not conservative and not all unattractive people are liberals."
The authors concluded: "It makes sense that attractiveness would further alter political interactions and beliefs. Yet, attractiveness, beyond the elite-level of political candidates, is rarely examined in political behaviour...Our physical body is frequently overlooked in political science where the competition is framed around hearts and minds, but this analysis shows that our physical attractiveness can significantly shape our political behaviour."
We get it, but how do you explain Donald Trump, Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson?
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