The link helps explain ‘the halo effect‘, the idea that the mind assumes that what is beautiful is good.
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.
Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.
This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.
It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.
I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.