The presence of other people influences how attractive we seem, new research claims.
Researchers at Royal Holloway in London recently looked at how the presence of others could make you more, or less, attractive.
Whereas before, the general belief was that attractiveness was static, this new research offers a more fluid theory on attractiveness.
The research process, outlined in “Facial Attractiveness Choices Are Predicted By Divisive Normalization”, consisted of participants being asked to rate a series of faces.
Participants were asked to rate pictures of different faces by attractiveness, one by one.
They were then asked to assess the same faces, placed alongside ones perceived to be undesirable.
The researchers found that when they added in these “distractor faces”, the attractiveness of the same faces increased from the first round of ranking.
The study’s author, Dr. Nicholas Furl said: “The presence of a less attractive face does not just increase the attractiveness of a single person, but in a crowd could actually make us even more choosey!
“We found that the presence of a ‘distractor’ face makes differences between attractive people more obvious and that observers start to pull apart these differences, making them even more particular in their judgement.”
The research therefore suggests that the context in which others see us and the people around us can massively effect how attractive we are perceived to be.
When looked at in relation to the world of online dating, this idea could be used to alter services’ matching systems, and the way, and order, that potential matchers are served up to searching singles.
Dr. Furl said: “It’s perhaps not too surprising that we are judged in relation to those around us.
“This is a trope often seen in teen movies and romantic comedies, where a character associates themselves with a less attractive friend to elevate their own dating stakes.
“There will certainly be more research in years to come on this complicated area of human interaction, and I am excited to see where this research takes us.”
To find out more and download this study please click here.