New research reveals that unattractive people seem less able to accurately judge their own attractiveness, and tend to overestimate their appearance. In contrast, beautiful people tend to rate themselves more accurately or underestimate how attractive they are.
The research, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, included six studies that asked participants to rate their own attractiveness and the attractiveness of other unknown participants.
In the first study, lead author Tobias Greitemeyer found that the participants most likely to overestimate their own attractiveness were among the least attractive people in the study, based on average ratings.
In general, the unattractive participants considered themselves to be of average attractiveness and showed very little awareness that strangers did not share this view. In contrast, the attractive participants had greater insight into how attractive they really were. […] It appears, then, that unattractive people maintain delusional self-perceptions of their attractiveness, while attractive people’s opinions are grounded more in reality.
Why do unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness?
To find out, Greitemeyer conducted a study aiming to get participants into a positive, non-defensive mindset before rating attractiveness.
The conclusion was the conclusion: unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness.
Greitemeyer found that unattractive people were worse at distinguishing between attractive and unattractive people. But the finding that unattractive people may have different ideals of beauty (or, more clearly, a weaker ability to judge attractiveness) “had no effect on how they perceived themselves.”
In short, it remains a mystery why unattractive people overestimate their appearance.
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