Mixed-race people perceived as 'more attractive'

Apr 14, 2010

In the largest study of its kind Dr Michael Lewis of Cardiff University's School of Psychology, collected a random sample of 1205 black, white, and mixed-race faces.

Each face was then rated for their perceived attractiveness to others - with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as being more attractive.

Dr Lewis, who will present his findings to the British Psychological Society's annual meeting (Wednesday 14th April) said: "Previous, small scale, studies have suggested that people of mixed race are perceived as being more attractive than non-mixed-race people. This study was an attempt to put this to the wider test.

"A random sample of black, white, and mixed-race faces was collected and rated for their perceived attractiveness. There was a small but highly significant effect, with mixed-race , on average, being perceived as more attractive."

The study could also have wider implications than just attractiveness.

First established by Darwin in 1876, (or hybrid vigour) is a biological phenomenon that predicts that cross-breeding leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents.

As heterosis is considered to be a universal biological effect, it is possible that humans are also subject to its influence and helps explain why mixed-race people appear more attractive.

Dr Lewis added: "The results appear to confirm that people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more than those whose backgrounds are less diverse. This can be taken as evidence for heterosis among human population groups.

"There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the impact of heterosis goes beyond just attractiveness. This comes from the observation that, although mixed-race make up a small proportion of the population, they are over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions like acting with Halle Berry, Formula 1 racing with Lewis Hamilton; and, of course, politics with Barack Obama."

Explore further: Researchers tackle 'virtually ignored' psychological study of spite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Psychologists reveal the secret of successful wooing

Feb 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new University of Sussex study shows that,without being consciously aware, we change our judgment of a person's attractiveness based on what they do, not their physical characteristics.

A face by any other name: Seeing racial bias

Oct 28, 2008

If Barack Obama had taken his mother's surname and kept his childhood nickname, American voters might literally see "Barry Dunham" as a quite different presidential candidate, a new study suggests. A name significantly changes ...

An average voice is beautiful, say scientists

Jan 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nobody wants to be average, so we are told, but scientists at the University of Glasgow have found that when it comes to vocal attractiveness, sounding average attracts more admirers.

Recommended for you

Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.

Single motherhood does not make women unhappy

13 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Raising a child outside of marriage poses many challenges – but does not have a negative impact on women's happiness, according to new research published in the Journal of Happiness St ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Saudi announces 11 new MERS infections

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced 11 new cases of MERS, including a 13-year-old child, as its acting health minister vowed to keep the public better informed on the coronavirus.

Volitional control from optical signals

(Medical Xpress)—In their quest to build better BMIs, or brain-machine-interfaces, researchers have recently begun to look closer at the sub-threshold activity of neurons. The reason for this trend is that ...

60% of China underground water polluted: report

Sixty percent of underground water in China which is officially monitored is too polluted to drink directly, state media have reported, underlining the country's grave environmental problems.

Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save ...

Internet TV case: US justices skeptical, concerned

Grappling with fast-changing technology, U.S. Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in ...