“Bias towards beauty” simplified
For those of you who didn’t have the patience for the technical jargon, or who fell asleep while reading my last post, here it is in a less scientific version:
There’s this subconscious stereotype that exists in society that “Beauty is Good”. What that means is that people who are good looking are automatically credited with certain attributes such as honesty, friendliness and competence.
Why does this stereotype exist? Two scientists decided to find out. It turns out that the area of the brain that controls our judgement of how beautiful a face is is the same area that controls our judgements about moral behavior. So when you look at a good looking person, the part of your brain that is excited is the same one that decides that an action is morally good or acceptable. It’s like the brain can’t separate the two.
This finding has serious social implications and helps to explain why better looking people are more likely to be hired for a job, and why the good looking political candidate often wins the race.
So I thought this finding was depressing. Aren’t we human beings better than that? How can it be that we are hard-wired to be so biased? What about “Beauty and the Beast” and “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”? I think the reason there has been such a big effort in our culture to separate looks and goodness, is exactly because of our ingrained programming that does the exact opposite.
The good news about the scientists’ researched is that different people found different faces to be attractive. There was no one uniform standard for what makes a beautiful face. That’s something that is really important to remember- that each one of us has the potential to be beautiful if we can just take all the good qualities that are inside of us and bring them out to where they can be seen. Start with a simple smile; it’s your best makeover.