“You’re pretty on the inside” can translate into being pretty on the outside. An attractive personality can make someone seem more physically attractive, according to a study published in the December issue of the journal Personal Relationships.
Unlike others of its kind, in this study, subjects first had to rate pictures of people. Then, after an exercise to take their minds off of the pictures, they had to rate the same pictures. This time, the pictures were accompanied by personality descriptions such as “honest, humorous, and mature” or “abusive, offensive, and unstable.” This method better approximates real life: We first see a person and later get to know his or her personality.
“First impressions aren’t as rigid as we might have thought before,” says Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at Monmouth University in New Jersey. A good personality, he adds, is “cheaper than plastic surgery.”