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How important are looks?

Everyone judges people by their looks, at least a little.

How much are your looks related to how happy you are?
How much do you think other people's looks affect the way you treat them?

This includes beauty but is not limited to just attractiveness. Looks can include approachability, friendliness, innocence, etc.

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    Apr 17 2014:
    Looks are the "ultra-high accurate monitor" of a person.
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    Mar 22 2014: Your right, visual clues are constantly informing and directing our opinions. But it is how we filter those clues that measures their importance and relevance not the "look" itself. .

    For instance, advertising constantly assaults us with unrealistic images of what is "desirable" and "important" to the point that the label on one's clothing can bestow status that the person's physical appearance would have negated and vice versa depending solely upon one's preferences and prejudices. Conversely, con artists, sales people and seducers all apply and remove acceptable demeanours much like quick change artists until the right response is elicited from their target.

    So just like most things in life today, the message is 'consumer beware" and always look behind the curtain. .
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    Mar 19 2014: I think warmth and friendliness carry great weight in people's ability to make friends and to work with people. Working with people well and forming friendships are almost certainly positively correlated with contentment. I think also that in the park people are more likely to approach the handsome, warm, and friendly dogs and that rescues find it easier to place beautiful and friendly cats..

    There are some lines of work in which good looking people seem more successful on average than plain looking people. The entertainment industry favors good looking people.

    There are some features that may not be related to beauty per se that people find compelling. For example, animated characters with a baby shape have, research shows, inherent appeal. The large head of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the Three Chipmunks are part of their appeal. The proportions of the French or English bulldog, whether you call that beauty or not, fall into that category as well.

    The Golden Rectangle has been found to have particular appeal to the eye, and symmetry in the face seems to be more appealing to humans than an asymmetric face.

    My hypothesis is that across a wide range of "looks", though, beauty makes no difference in people's happiness or quality of life.
  • Mar 19 2014: I also notice that youth is an important factor in this "bias." I commonly display a different demeanor depending on another persons' age. I am sure this is something that happens to me as well. Do you think you are more likely to become friends with someone who looks more like you?