Plain-looking men can boost their attractiveness to women by being creative, new research finds.
The same boost in attractiveness, strangely, does not apply to plain-looking women.
In fact, for less attractive women, creativity could actually be a dating handicap.
Dr Christopher Watkins, the study’s author, said:
“Creative women with less attractive faces seem to be perhaps penalised in some way.”
The boost for average-looking men, though, was substantial, said Dr Watkins:
“Creative guys with less attractive faces were almost identical in attractiveness to really good looking guys who were not as creative.”
Top of the pile, naturally, were men who were both good-looking and creative.
The importance of displaying creativity may be partly that imagination suggests intelligence.
Dr Watkins said:
“Women on average are a more selective sex when it comes to choosing romantic partners.
Creativity is thought to be a signal that an individual can invest time and effort into a particular task or can see things in novel ways that may be useful for survival.”
Unfortunately, those who are creative may not have a chance to show it in the modern, superficial world of online dating.
Dr Watkins said:
“Certain platforms that we have now for dating might not be favourable for assessing people on more complex attributes.”
Creativity is not just attractive in a dating context, but also in friendships, the study found.
Creativity looks good
The results come hot on the heels of attraction research testing whether personality can beat looks:
“Women say they prefer the personality traits of friendliness and respectfulness, but new research reveals it’s really all about looks.
When tested, women pick men who are physically attractive over those with better personality traits.
Younger women, in particular, pay little attention to whether men are trustworthy, respectful and honest — just whether they are fit.[…]
The results revealed that personality made little difference when men were unattractive.
Perhaps, though, creativity can do the trick in place of being friendly and respectful.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science (Watkins, 2017).