Beauty How attractive you look depends on who you hang out with: study

The study said judgements of attractiveness vary depending on who is nearby, and how good-looking they are in comparison.

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play Lead researcher, Dr Nicholas Furl, a psychologist at Royal Holloway University of London, said: "Rightly or wrongly, the way people look has a profound impact on the way others perceive them. (File Photo)
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Hanging out with less attractive people could make you appear good looking, a new study by a UK university claim.

The study said judgements of attractiveness vary depending on who is nearby, and how good-looking they are in comparison.

The research from the Royal Holloway University of London said a person will rank higher on a scale of attractiveness when compared alongside less attractive people, than they would when judged alone.

The popular opinion is that one's perceived level of attractiveness is fixed but the study shows context is integral in assessing one's looks.

Lead researcher, Dr Nicholas Furl, a psychologist at Royal Holloway University of London, said: "Rightly or wrongly, the way people look has a profound impact on the way others perceive them.

"We live in a society obsessed with beauty and attractiveness, but how we measure and understand these concepts is still a grey area.

"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 study asked participants to rate pictures of different faces for attractiveness, one by one.

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They were then asked to assess the same faces, placed alongside ones perceived to be undesirable. When adding these “distractor faces”, the attractiveness of the same faces increased from the first round of ranking.

Participants were then shown two attractive faces, alongside a “distractor” face and asked to judge between them. The presence of the less attractive face was found to make the viewers more critical between the attractive face, as Dr Furl explained:

Dr 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

"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."

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