In blind tests against their peers, women who were more attractive attained higher grades than those deemed ugly
According to a new research paper, female university students that are perceived as prettier than their peers are statistically more likely to get higher grades in their university courses. Comparing the students’ academic scores to rankings of their physical attractiveness, based solely on student ID photographs, the research revealed that the best-looking women scored better than those on the lower end of the scale.
Furthermore, those who scored in the lowest levels of attractiveness received considerably lower marks. Male lecturers and professions were also found to be more likely to award better looking female students than female educators.
The study’s author, Rey Hernández-Julián, also ran the numbers on the same group of students when they took online courses and found that when the physical appearance of a student was not evident the advantages of being perceived as better looking was almost entirely negligible.
"The main results in our paper were not about whether there is a return to appearance, but whether it would be smaller in online environments, where the student is not seen," Hernández-Julián told American broadcaster NPR.
This research, carried out by two economics academics at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, home to 24,000 ethnically and socially diverse students, is further evidence of the myriad advantages for those with good looks.
In the history of social sciences, several studies have shown that the better-looking are more likely to earn more, are perceived as being more likeable, and are better trusted than the rest of us. They are also statistically more likely to marry someone with a better-than-average education – who is also likely to be better looking than the norm.
A famous study from the 1970s, The Effect of Physical Attractiveness on Teacher Expectations, first outlined the subconscious biases from which the beautiful benefit; when given identical coursework transcripts, teachers were more likely to think their students were more intelligent if the students looked handsome or pretty in a photograph.
The Denver study did buck certain beauty trends, as previous research had shown handsome men also received higher grades. This was not observed in this study.