The ugly truth: Unattractive friends boost your good looks

The study found your attractiveness goes up or down depending on how attractive your friend is.

It’s been long thought of that standing next to a friend who isn’t as blessed in the looks department will make you appear more attractive and a new study has backed it up.

Researchers from Royal Holloway University in London has conducted the study to show attractiveness goes up when compared to less attractive people when judged in isolation. The research involved asking volunteers to rate how good looking they found pictures of random people. The experiment was then repeated with an addition of a less attractive person alongside the original pictures and the results showed the original rate of attractiveness went up.

“Until now, it’s been understood that a person’s level of attractiveness is generally steady. If you saw a picture of George Clooney today, you would rate him as good-looking as you would tomorrow. However, this work demonstrates that the company we keep has an effect on how attractive we appear to others,” stated lead author of the study, Dr Nicholas Furl.

It’s thought it’s down to our critical abilities being heightened and sharpened when we have a comparison and we become more sensitive to noticing differences between two people.

“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 choosy,” said Dr Furl. “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 judgment.”

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