Attractive people are also likely to be more intelligent, studies find.
People who are physically attractive can have IQs up to 14 percent higher than the less attractive.
The results come from data on 17,419 children in the UK who have been followed since 1958.
Attractive male children have 13.6 more IQ points than their unattractive peers.
Meanwhile, female children have 11.4 more IQ points.
This is the difference between being of average and high intelligence.
People unconsciously assume that better looking people are more intelligent.
It is part of what psychologists call ‘the halo effect‘: the mind assumes that what is beautiful is good.
Hollywood stars demonstrate the halo effect perfectly.
Because they are often attractive and likeable we naturally assume they are also intelligent, friendly, display good judgement and so on.
As the study’s authors write:
“Individuals perceive physically attractive others to be more intelligent than physically unattractive others.
While most researchers dismiss this perception as a ‘bias’ or ‘stereotype’, we contend that individuals have this perception because beautiful people indeed are more intelligent.”
The authors warn that the finding should not be used as the basis for discrimination or prejudice:
“Our contention that beautiful people are more intelligent is purely scientific.
It is not a prescription for how to treat or judge others.”
Tall and intelligent
A second sign of higher intelligence is being taller.
The reason is that the genes that are correlated with height are also correlated with intelligence.
The conclusion comes from a study of the DNA of 6,815 people.
Of course, there are still people who are short and intelligent, plus those who are tall and dim.
But, on average, there is a small association between being taller and having higher intelligence.
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