Beauty and brains boost earning power: study

May 15th, 2009 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 15 (IANS) People with both beauty and brains are more likely to clinch their dream jobs with top salaries rather than their less well-endowed counterparts since they have higher “self-worth”, according to a new study.
“Little is known about why there are income disparities between the good-looking and the not-so-good-looking,” said study co-author Timothy Judge of the University of Florida.

“We’ve found that, even accounting for intelligence, a person’s feeling of self-worth is enhanced by how attractive they are and this, in turn, results in higher pay.”

Judge’s team analysed data from the Harvard Study of Health and Life Quality, a national, longitudinal study, which looked at 191 men and women between the ages of 25 and 75 who were interviewed three times six months apart starting in 1995.

The respondents answered questions about their household income, education and financial stresses and evaluated how happy or disappointed they were with their achievements up to that point. They also completed several intelligence and cognitive tests and had their pictures taken.

Different people on the research team - men and women of varying ages - then rated each person’s attractiveness relative to their age and gender. The study’s authors then calculated an average attractiveness score for each participant based on those ratings.

The researchers found that physical attractiveness had a significant impact on how much people got paid, how educated they were, and how they evaluated themselves.

Basically, people who were rated good-looking made more money, were better educated and were more confident. But the effects of a person’s intelligence on income were stronger than those of a person’s attractiveness, according to a University of Florida release.

“It turns out that the brainy are not necessarily at a disadvantage to the beautiful, and if one possesses intelligence and good looks, then all the better,” said Judge.

The findings appeared in the May issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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