It Turns Out That the Beautiful People Really Do Look Down on the Rest of Us

| Thu Apr. 17, 2014 2:29 PM EDT

It turns out that beautiful people really do look down on the rest of us. Danielle Kurtzleben reports on a new study that assessed the attitudes of people after asking them to rate their own attractiveness:

Participants who perceive themselves as attractive also tend to not only believe they are of higher social status but also to believe in group dominance — that some groups are just inferior. They also were more likely to believe in ideas that legitimized their status, like the idea that all Americans have equal shots at making it to the top.

....People who thought they were more attractive also tended to think that America's steadily growing inequality came about because of individual characteristics, like talent and hard work. People who thought they were uglier, meanwhile, thought outside factors — discrimination, political power — had more to do with inequality.

People have a well-known cognitive bias in which they attribute positive outcomes to internal factors (hard work, smarts) and negative outcomes to external factors (bad luck, enemies who have it in for you). This is a similar kind of thing. People who are attractive tend to do better in life, but they resist the idea that this is partly due to the simple good luck of being tall or having regular features. And yet, there's abundant evidence that physical attractiveness makes a difference. Just ask political candidates.

Ditto for being white, male, healthy, middle class, etc. A lot of people might dislike the invocations of "privilege" that seem so endless these days, but it's a real thing. And it's everywhere.

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