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Are we less attractive than we think we are?

Studies have shown that we tend to see ourselves up to 10x more attractive than we actually do. Is that statement valid and if so, why? What makes our mind change the perception of ourselves when we look in the mirror? What does it accomplish? Do other people see us as we see our selves?


Closing Statement from Damla Williams

Judging from all of your wonderful answers, i've concluded that attractiveness is based on self-confidence and actuality. It's different based on different people. Thank you all for the wonderful contributions!

  • Sep 14 2012: In my experience a lot of people think that they are much less attractive than they think they are. But that's just my experience. The rest of the world might be different.
  • Sep 14 2012: Sorry, I just don't buy it. I would have to read those studies.

    The 10x part is suspicious. What kind of measure could possibly come up with this factor?

    I have read 'scientific' studies of human behavior that reached completely false conclusions. I strongly suspect these studies are similar. In my experience, most people have a fairly good understanding of how attractive they are, and it has very little to do with looking in the mirror. Attractiveness is based on how other people respond to you. For every person that overestimates their own attractiveness, there is at least one other who underestimates.
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    Sep 13 2012: "The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth... I hate my body!"
    "Do you understand that, the second you look in the mirror, and you're happy with what you see... You just lost the battle"
    "You should give speeches to teenage girls"

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    Sep 13 2012: I think the researcher only studied the people from the Hollywood what I think it all depends on the circumstances of the person. What you think about the Megan Fox now obviously she is attractive and she might think herself that she is one of the most beautiful woman of the world but if the same Megan Fox was born in other part of world with no resources of income she may think like ordinary people.
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    Sep 13 2012: Try having a contract partner that is a South American god,it's amazing to watch the gentler gender go ga-ga around him and how it also brings out the best manners in polite passings.
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    Sep 13 2012: What a surprising research result. I would have thought people tend more to have an exaggerated perception of their physical shortcomings.
    • Sep 13 2012: That's what I thought as well! Sounds like a type of Simpson's paradox took place.
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    Sep 13 2012: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? We may see ourselves as more or less attractive depending on our emotional state. Personally, when I'm tired, or physically hurting, it shows in the mirror. If I feel energized, I feel better about the way I look.

    James makes a good point...often people see themselves very differently than we see them. I cannot even imagine how very thin people with eating disorders can see themselves as fat....that boggles my mind.
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    Sep 13 2012: What percentage of people think they're more attractive than they really are?

    Because I know a bunch of problems that involves self-esteem issues like eating disorders and whatnot and those seem to be the exact opposite of thinking they're more attractive than they actually are.
    • Sep 13 2012: It's not really the thought that they think or know that they are attractive. I was wondering about the mind's perception of oneself. To some people, ordinary may be beautiful, and to others it's less than average. I just thought the concept was interesting.
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    Sep 15 2012: From my personal experience, I've always thought people might tend to underestimate their attractiveness. It really depends on real circumstances, though. As for those studies, I have a feeling they'll disappoint me.
  • Sep 15 2012: I'm willing to bet that the studies to which you are referring have been debunked as pseudoscience.
    Most people have a rather accurate assessment of how they look. Very rarely do you see an ugly person claiming they're beautiful and vice versa. Most peoples idea of whether they are attractive or not comes from the previous experiences interacting with the opposite sex. If a guy or girl gets positive attention from the opposite sex and told "you're hot" "you should be a model" they will generally regard themselves as attractive. People who don't get this type of feedback will more than likely feel that they are unattractive. It boils down to feedback from the opposite sex during formative years.
    • Sep 18 2012: I thought it was conclusive of pseudoscience too. Thanks, Jeff! You made some very valid points.
  • Sep 13 2012: Perhaps. I think it is tied to the beauty is only skin deep thought. We only see the exterior when we pass the mirror. We are immersed in the what is on the inside. Mirrors bring things back to reality.

    Might also have to do with your attitude in general. Is the glass half full or half empty? When we look in the mirror we look for imperfections, others see the whole picture.
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    Sep 13 2012: I think that the perception of attractiveness depends on gender, and on our feelings, and on our definition of attractiveness.

    Women tend to give more care to their looks because a beautiful body attracts men; men tend to see themselves as attractive when they have money and power;
    When we are feeling sick or worried or when we have been treated badly by someone else, we tend to feel unattractive.

    But if we are complimented often for our attractive looks or beauty and we allow the words to become obsessive thoughts, we tend to develop an exaggerated impression of how beautiful we are.

    Being attractive is not just about good looks; serial killers, rapists, fraudsters and paedophiles may look good. But if we know them for who they are, they are not the most attractive people.
    • Sep 13 2012: I see what you are saying about how our actions and personalities affect the way we perceive people. Thank you!
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    Sep 13 2012: If you ask....the answer is... yes.
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    Sep 13 2012: That depends on each person's assessment and I don't think you are doomed.
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    Sep 13 2012: if it is true, i'm doomed