In upsetting news for single progressives, a new study claims that attractive people are more likely to embrace right-wing politics than their plainer counterparts.
US political science professors Rolfe Peterson and Carl Palmer examined multiple past studies which included data on participants’ political affiliation and perceived physical attractiveness.
Their findings, published in Politics and the Life Sciences, show that those deemed more aesthetically blessed are consistently more likely to identify as Republican.
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Peterson said that the correlation is rooted in a cognitive bias called the halo effect in which one positive trait, such as beauty, is subconsciously associated with unrelated, positive traits, such as intelligence or morality.
A previous study by Peterson and Palmer into the political implications of the “halo effect” found that attractive people are also perceived as more politically knowledgeable.
Cushioned by the halo effect, attractive people “tend to get on better in life”, Peterson writes, and “when we are treated differently we begin to perceive the world differently”.
In some cases, the social privileges which accompany good looks result in an empathy gap when it comes to understanding the hardships of others, says The Guardian. Attractive people are thus “more likely to embrace individualism and reject the types of social assistance and welfare aid more commonly promoted by leftwing policy”.
“Put another way,” ponders The Times’ science editor Tom Whipple, “if Karl Marx had had a better beard, would 20th-century history have been rather different?”
Peterson stresses that his findings highlight a tendency rather than a strict correlation.
Physical beauty “gives a person a small push in the conservative direction”, he writes. “All attractive people are not conservative and not all unattractive people are liberals.”
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