Studies show attractive people have advantage at work

Many want to believe the allure of attractiveness has no power over people, that they are able to make decisions about others based solely upon character and actions. However, almost every psychological and sociological research study proves this is wishful thinking.
Humans are biased by nature. We judge by appearance in order to survey our environment. This is a mechanism used for survival, but it does have a nasty habit of taking over other parts of our judgment which do not pertain to life-or-death situations.
 Research as shown by scholarly articles such as “The affects of physical attractiveness on job-related outcomes: A meta-analysis of experimental studies” shows attractive individuals doing better than unattractive individuals in a number of work-related aspects.
“There are so many studies showing that people do better in life if they are considered physically attractive by conventional standards. Things like having large eyes, symmetrical features, full lips for a woman, strong jaw for a male,” said Dr. Sara Sohr-Preston, instructor of psychology. “Without realizing it, we treat them better. We assume all sorts of positive qualities about them without evidence to back that up. We assume more attractive people are smarter, nicer, more assertive. There’s long lists of qualities we assign to them without knowing anything about them.”
People see features like big eyes and full lips and deem them attractive. They automatically connect these features with positive deductions about the person who has them: confidence, social skills, intelligence and talent.
What many do not know is this bias begins at birth. According to Sohr-Preston, studies show cuter babies are kept longer in the hospital. Since infancy, attractive people are brought up being treated better or expected to be better based upon their looks. This phenomenon is what psychologists call a self-fulfilling prophecy: when other people expect a person to be a certain way, how they treat them makes that person become what they expect. The self-fulfilling prophecy also plays a role in the success rate of attractive versus unattractive individuals in the workforce.
“Part of it is self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Sohr-Preston. “When you’re more attractive and you’re younger, people treat you better. The less attractive children are not treated as well, so they may actually become grumpy, rude.”
After realizing how much evidence supports this notion, it has made a significant enough impact for there to be numerous debates over whether or not being “ugly” should be considered a disability. Others like Sohr-Preston believe that although it plays a significant role, unattractiveness is not detrimental enough to label it as such.
“I think it combines with so much,” said Sohr-Preston. “It’s definitely not the only factor that’s at play, but it’s significant enough that it shouldn’t be ignored.”
Education about biases is one possible solution to this widespread issue.
“I think it’s more realistic just to educate people when they have to take their business classes and thing like that,” said Sohr-Preston. “One of the things that is almost never included, letting them know that, ‘Hey, when you’re hiring, here are some of the biases that you might have.’ Not just attractiveness, but things like gender bias and racial bias. A lot of people aren’t even aware that they do those things.”
Prejudice exists in many forms. Based on numerous experimental studies, it’s important for both employers and the general public to be aware of biases to maintain equal opportunities in the work environment.