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"Very unattractive" people can make more money, says Journal of Business Psychology study



If your looks are not your strength, then maybe you should be as ugly as possible.

This is because "very unattractive" people earn "significantly" more money than their "unattractive" counterparts, according to a new study published in the Journal of Business Psychology. It also turned out that it is not uncommon for these "very unattractive" people to consume more dough than those who are "average" and "attractive".

These findings held true for intelligence, health and other personality traits such as extroverted and conscientious, the study said.

Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Mary Still of the University of Massachusetts in Boston examined data from the National Longitudinal Study on Youth Health for their study. In this 1

994 survey, scientists rated the appeal of 16-year-olds and then interviewed them three times at the age of 29 to determine their looks and income.

At the age of 29, the ugliest participants often brought home the most money.

The results – that "very unattractive" is a blessing for a bigger paycheck – fly in the face of the so-called "beauty premium". This theory postulates that attractive people are more likely to get a bigger paycheck because of their looks.

A study by economists at Wesleyan University in 2006 found that potential employers made estimates of productivity in CV appraisals that did not correlate with the attractiveness of the applicant – because they could not see them. That changed when they met in person, these researchers found, and there was a clear correlation between appearance and quality of work expectations.

Researchers believe that attractive people are self-confident, helping them to shine in the business world.

So why did the study by Kanazawa and Still find that their counterpart to the spectrum of attractions can also be worthwhile?

They wrote that it could be because many studies often "very unattractive" and "unattractive" clumped in a category – so leading researchers to miss the nuance between people of different ugliness. Another possibility is that the researchers did not control for different personality types.

Kanazawa and Still wrote that while it seems good-looking people make more money, "it's not because they're beautiful."

Instead, it is "because they are healthier, smarter and better (more conscientious and extraverted and less neurotic) personality," they wrote. Based on these findings, they came to the conclusion that the "beauty premium" and the "ugliness penalty" are not exactly what we believe.

In fact, there could also be a "ugliness bonus," according to the study.

"The apparent beauty premium and the ugliness penalty may be a function of unmeasured features related to physical attractiveness such as health, intelligence, and personality."

Alex Fradera, a colleague in the British Psychological Study, postulated that perhaps the "very unattractive" participants were committed to working in a particular occupational field, which in turn gave them a greater likelihood of moving up the career ladder.

But she also said that more research is needed to confirm these findings.

"The very unattractive group was small, with extremes in each population – just a few hundred participants – so we would want to examine that again to see if they are holding effects," she wrote. "Right now, this research makes assumptions about the potential of people born without conventional glances to find an unusual achievement."


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