The effect of nonphysical traits on the perception of physical attractiveness - Three naturalistic studies
Kevin M Kniffin & David Sloan Wilson; 2004
From an evolutionary perspective, beauty is regarded as an assessment of fitness value. The Fitness value of a social partner can be influenced by both physical and nonphysical traits. It follows that the perceived beauty of a social partner can be influenced by nonphysical traits such as liking, respect, familiarity, and contribution to shared goals in addition to physical traits such as youth, waist-to-hip ratio, and bilateral symmetry. We present three studies involving the evaluation of known social partners showing that judgments of physical attractiveness are strongly influenced by nonphysical factors. Females are more strongly influenced by nonphysical factors than males and there are large individual differences within each sex. In general, research on physical attractiveness based on the evaluation of purely physical traits of strangers might miss some of the most important factors influencing the perception of physical attractiveness among known associates.