It’s a common belief that we’re able to judge our attraction to someone within the first few minutes of an initial meeting. And while there are certain stereotypical characteristics that tend to lead to an immediate “hot or not” decision, research from Psychology Today finds that physical attractiveness is actually a bit more complicated than that.
Researchers in the study looked at something called dynamic physical attractiveness, which says a person’s personality, physical grace and body language all have an affect on our perception of who is and who isn’t attractive. Going in, they hypothesized that “people who spontaneously expressed positive emotions were more attractive to others,” meaning that a person’s emotional expressiveness and social skills are a major part of what makes someone hot.
Groups of college students were judged based on still photos of faces and bodies, while another group focused only on the attractiveness of how individuals were dressed. The findings proved the researchers’ hypothesis that there’s more to attractiveness than just good looks. That’s not to say that looks don’t matter, but according to the study, personality plays a very large part as well, proving that the saying, “beauty is more than skin deep” is true.
Another less obvious, interesting conclusion was the finding that attractiveness can be manipulated. So, before you shallowly write someone off for not being hot enough, remember that clothing, makeup, and fitness can all affect perceptions of attractiveness.