On Facebook, beauty is more than screen deep

Apr 23, 2012

Having attractive friends will make you more popular on Facebook, especially if you are a woman, according to a new study that takes Charles Darwin into the domain of cyber networking.

The findings show that signs of sway our decisions about friendship, Dutch researcher Piet Kommers told AFP.

"People are attracted by other people who look very healthy, happy and productive in a sexual sense. That is an accepted evolutionary law," he said.

"The very pure healthiness aspect is still dominant. It is hard to suppress that."

The University of Twente team created four mockup Facebook profiles using pictures of a man and a woman deemed "neutral" for attractiveness in a pre-test evaluation.

Two profile pages were created for each of them.

One page had photographs of two "friends" -- a man and a woman -- and the other had two unattractive ones.

The profiles were otherwise identical, listing the owners' place of residence, birth date, interests and favourite movies, music and TV shows.

Scientists then showed the profiles at random to 74 students between the ages of 21 and 31, asking them to rate the profile holder's "social attractiveness".

Participants had to consider such questions as "I think he/she could be a friend" or "He/she would be pleasant to be with".

The were a whopping 20 percent likelier to choose the profile with "attractive" friends, the found.

"The appearance of one's in fact influences the perception of the profile owner," the study said.

"More specifically, the attractiveness of one's associates on Facebook has a direct positive influence on one's own social attractiveness."

Having beautiful friends was especially important for the popularity of women, it found.

The study was published Monday in the International Journal of Web Based Communities.

The authors note that the opposite is also true. Having unattractive images could harm the appeal of individuals and businesses using social networking sites, they warn.

Explore further: Genes play a key part in the recipe for a happy country

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook profiles to play up brand and band pages

Apr 19, 2010

(AP) -- Facebook is revamping users' profiles to emphasize the pages for bands, books and businesses that millions have become fans of on the world's largest online social network.

Facebook to keep profiles of the dead

Oct 27, 2009

(AP) -- Death doesn't erase the online footprints that people leave in life and Facebook won't either, though it will make some changes.

Recommended for you

Genes play a key part in the recipe for a happy country

1 hour ago

Why are the Danes naturally more cheerful than the Brits, and why are we in turn more upbeat than the French? Research presented as part of this year's ESRC Festival of Social Sciences shows us that the recipe behind a happy ...

Black Republicans put most faith in US government

Oct 29, 2014

Black Republicans trust the United States government more than other political groups, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia, ahead of the mid-term U.S. elections to be held on November ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.