Richard G. Petty, MD

Women and the “Over-Attractive” Male

Here’s another one of those pieces of research that leave you thinking, “Didn’t I already know that?”

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire in England have found that men who are good-looking, single and earn a large income are not as attractive as good-looking men with an average job and income. It may be important that the research was done in England: social status is still far more heavily engrained in society than it is in the United States or Australia.

The research was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, and examined how 186 heterosexual female students weighed up the male physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status when considering a long-term relationship. The average age of the test subjects was 23, and they were asked to look at personal ads of a number of men and to rank them in terms of attractiveness as a long-term partner. Each advertisement showed a photograph and provided basic information about the man’s age, occupation and what he was seeking in a partner.

The images of the men had previously been measured on a subjective scale of attractiveness. The men were randomly allocated to eighteen different occupations that varied from an architect and company director to a waiter, postman and gardener.

The researchers found that men who were rated as physically highly attractive but had medium social status, scored better than highly attractive men of high status. The authors speculated that the highly attractive high status men might have been thought to be more likely to be unfaithful in relationships or to be “too good to be true.” I was reminded here of a piece that I wrote in November: many people probably make mistakes in evaluating the potential of relationships simple because they under-estimate themselves.

Not only would it be good to repeat this research outside England, but it would also be a good idea to do similar experiments with women and people with different sexual orientations. There is some research that men at that age tend to make more superficial evaluations about potential partners.

The take home message: don’t try to make yourself look better than you are, it may backfire; don’t under-estimate yourself and look below the surface when making any important decision.

And Fabio, eat your heart out!

“Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see, but only a few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are, and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.”
–Niccoló Machiavelli (Italian Writer and Philosopher, 1469-1527)

“Judgment and love are opposites. From one comes all the sorrows of the world. From the other comes the peace of God. Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind.”
–A Course in Miracles (Book of Spiritual Principles Scribed by Dr. Helen Schucman between 1965 and 1975, and First Published in 1976)

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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