You’re never really surprised when you hear that a good-looking person isn’t really a good person on the inside, but why is that?
A new study has shed light on why good looking people tend to be douchebags, but it’s not for the reasons you think — and it’s not entirely their fault. Just like how rich people and celebrities get the same rap, they are the way they are because of how we treat them.
Psychology professor Michael Price of Brunel University conducted a wide-ranging study that tested how we perceive attractiveness and how our perception also affects attractive people. Price told Mic:
“The study didn’t just show that men with more attractive bodies have behavior and attitudes that are less altruistic or egalitarian; it also showed that men (and women) with more attractive bodies are perceived by other people as being less altruistic or egalitarian.”
This sets the base that attractive people tend to be more selfish and less for equality than normal people, but also that we relate attractiveness to the values of selfishness and inequality. This makes sense, because attractive people aren’t born with the same natural circumstances as unattractive people; they have all sorts of social advantages that unattractive people have to work for to compensate.
The study recruited 125 men and women and created 3D body models of them to display their bodys’ features and measurements. They then had participants rate the body models on attractiveness but also on how fair-minded that person might be.
Participants then took a series of tests to determine how they would share money, how they rated the concept of equality as well as their economic leanings to gather how egalitarian each participant was.
The tests revealed that women on average were more egalitarian than men, and that the men who were the most egalitarian were not rated as the most attractive. The study explains:
“Our results shine a pretty bright light on the under-appreciated role that physical attractiveness may play as a predictor of egalitarianism.”
Attractive people have little reason to obey social norms or to treat other people as equal because they grew up in a society (our society) of inequality — only they were on the winning side. Since our society values attractiveness like it does, and attractive qualities are passed down genetically, that means that the douchey mindset of attractive people often perpetuates itself.
There far fewer situations where they will have to work hard (or work at all) for the things they need in life because, well, we like to just give them things. They see no need to view others as equal (apart from other beautiful people), and they get to give less to get what they want, which accounts for their selfish tendencies. Our society gives attractive people a good life, so for them, there’s no real reason to go against the grain and treat everyone as equals or to be particularly generous.
But There’s Still Hope
“The correlation we found between attractiveness and selfishness attitudes in men was nowhere close to being perfect … Therefore, we should not be surprised if we encounter many men who are very unattractive and very selfish, as well as many men who are very attractive and very altruistic and egalitarian.”
Not all attractive people are ugly on inside, however. Many have a more enlightened view, using their advantages for good; these are the people who are beautiful inside and out. Where some can only focus on the good of themselves (people who spend all their time at the gym and being beautiful for Instagram), others focus on the good of all people and aim to make the world a better place above everything else. As Price explains, he hopes this study will help change attractive people’s mindsets and how normal people treat them.
“By drawing attention to this bias we can make people more able to overcome it. I think it is important to be aware of the biases people have that can influence their moral and political attitudes … Awareness of these biases can help people decide to be more rational in their moral or political views.”
To douchey attractive people, all we can say is try not to be such a douche. With ridiculous good looks comes great responsibility to society, not selfies.