Beautiful People are Happier

Recent research conducted by Daniel Hamermesh and Jason Abrevaya of The University of Texas at Austin suggest that “good-looking people are generally happier than their plain looking or unattractive counterparts”.  The research suggests that this is a result of larger salaries, other economic benefits, and better-looking spouses.

Indeed, research has already suggested that income levels have a direct correlation to overall happiness, but that this was only to a certain extent.

Hamermesh and Abrevaya’s paper entitled “Beauty is the Promise of Happiness” is being released to economists this week. The paper is also posted on the website of the German-based Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

According to a USA Today article, the economists analyzed data from five large surveys conducted between 1971 and 2009 in the USA, Canada, Germany and Britain. They found that beautiful people are generally happier than the plain Jane or or even ugly Joe.

Participants were asked about their own levels of happiness; their looks were rated by interviewers face-to-face or from photographs. Those in the top 15% of people ranked by looks are more than 10% happier than those ranked in the bottom 10%.

Interestingly, although the findings hold true for both men and women, the researchers say beauty affects women’s happiness more directly than men’s. But ladies, don’t go out rushing to get cosmetic surgery, buy new clothes or makeup.

“I know all the cosmetics folks and clothes folks say they can make you prettier, but the evidence for it just isn’t there,” Hamermesh says, citing a 2002 study he conducted that looked at the effect of buying better clothes, hair and cosmetics.

“It doesn’t help much. … Your beauty is determined to a tremendous extent by the shape of your face, by its symmetry and how everything hangs together.”

What do you think about these findings? Do you think there is some level of truth to them?

Read more about this study in this Time Magazine article

One response to “Beautiful People are Happier”

  1. Markus says:

    I do think there is some truth in thees findings. Other studies also shows that even other people tend to put all positive attributes (intelligente, happy, more successful etc. etc) to attractive and all negative to unattractive people.

    I belive that a large part of our identity and how we see our self lies in being defined in interaction with others.

    If you are attractive you will get positive reinforcement from others all your life. And people will engage you in a positive way. If you are unatractive you will get the opposite reinfocement.

    Its not strange that you will turn out more happy when others treat you in a positive way and you are being attributed with positive and socially favourable personality traits.

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