Games Primates Play

The evolution and economics of human relationships.

The truth about why beautiful people are more successful

Have you ever sat next to a supermodel on a plane? If you always fly in Economy class, the answer is probably no. Some supermodels, of course, fly only on private jets, so you'll never see them on commercial airline flights. Read More

I think there is another simple explanation to that

At least partial explanation. From my experience and others, arilines are likely to upgrade your seat to first or business class if you look good, dress nice and overall look representative. Many people ask for an upgrades and granted ones because of that. This is especially true for somestic flights where the cost for the airline is pretty low.

Complementary reason:

Physically attractive people have (on average) higher IQs.

You can judge the book by the cover: hiring good looking people will (on average) give you more capable employees.

That may have been the

That may have been the dumbest thing I've read on the internet in over a year. I have nothing against attractive people, but there is absolutely no correlation between physical attractiveness and intelligence. Physical attractiveness is almost completely based on luck of genetics, while intelligence is determined mostly by hard work and a little by luck.Also,most of the time, attractive people tend to slightly below average IQ, if only due to the fact that they need to expend less effort to make money and do well in life. Of course, this is a generalization and there are many many exceptions to the rule.

You reveal your potential

You reveal your potential bias by not appearing to group yourself in with attractive people : 'I have nothing against attractive people'.

I am a firm believer that hard work brings its own beauty.
If you're lazy and dim, you've got a bigger chance of being unattractive than if you have a good work ethic and try hard.
'Work' even includes exercising.

I argue that you are unlikely to have conducted an IQ test to prove that 'most of the time, attractive people tend to slightly below average IQ, if only due to the fact that they need to expend less effort to make money and do well in life'
and you are instead probably basing it on a wholly subjective idea that you have of what constitutes the appearance of someone who has an above average intellect.

I argue that some very attractive people do not try to appear intelligent (because they know how intimidating their overall package can be to many people) but that is not synonomous at all with not actually being intelligent.


Those of us with disfiguring condition don't necessarily want the attention accorded to the sexually attractive, but we would prefer not to be punished financially. I do my part by avoiding them and minimizing my interaction with them altogether.

I disagree with complementary

I disagree with complementary reason. It's the way you dress that counts, not how you look, everything else is meaningless.


I think the airplane hierarchy of looks is hard to swallow. I know obese people that travel in 1st class for the wider seats. But you are onto something. Money is a part of it. Good looking people have an easier time getting sales and entry level positions. But when the stakes are high companies can care less about looks unless you look like you sleep in a cave and dont bath. Successful businesses want producers working for them. Nerds run laps around jocks in terms of making money. However we as humans do discriminate against each other all the time. People who don't have narrow facial features, smaller frames youthful faces are considered lesser beings. Sad but true. Our subconscience wants the hottest things it can get. But everyone ages so even the hottest twentysomething guy or girl will one day look just like mom or dad. Time catches up to everyone. Bottom line enjoy youth cause you'll have 50 years of life without it. Personally I think nature built us this way so that we don't spend our whole lives in the sack.

My comment is this: Though I

My comment is this: Though I can understand your arguement, and you give x amount of explanations as if their are not many more, you have not considered one thing! which is Beauty comes from within, this is the truth to your semi ludicrous question.

the truth about the beautiful people are more successful game

Based on my own casual observations, I have to agree totally with this assessment. Recently there have been articles in online news sites that someone did a study and discovered a correlation between people who have sex more often and people who make more money. It's so obvious to me that it is because beautiful people tend to be more desired for sex AND more desired for employment. I think that a lot of people don't like to acknowledge that, however, because it is contrary to their politically correct views.

I would like to commend you

I would like to commend you Dr. Maestripieri for you article, though I wonder if there is more to the argument. Attractive people might seem to have greater success and it is true to an extent, but what about attractive people being slightly more out-going? Due to the attractiveness of a person, it could make sense that he/she developed a sense of worth and acted on that belief. Since attractiveness is preferable, people can simply value themselves and take charge of their life with perhaps a greater confidence than that of a less attractive person. And who of two people is greater with success, isn't it the more confident one?
I'm not discounting your argument, but I would like to state there are underlying reasons for attractive people having greater success. Yes, it easy to say attractive people have greater success, but there are reasons beyond physical appearance that a person can be found attractive.

You are certainly right - in

You are certainly right - in cities, you will also find that there are more attractive people in upmarket areas than in downmarket areas too. However, I have an alternative explanation, and that is that looking good costs money.

I am average looking and in an averagely paid job. If I were to be given a six figure salary, I would be able to afford the personal trainer, spray tans, facials, designer clothes and weekly hairdresser visits that I can't afford at the moment. If I were employed on the minimum wage, I could only afford cheap food so my skin would go bad, my clothes would be cheap and I would get my hair cut every 6 months. As a middle earner, I'm somewhere in the middle. We all have natural attributes or flaws, but money can turn Mr or Miss Average into Mr or Miss Above Average.

I think it's because of

I think it's because of "social selection". Intelligent/capable men who get to powerful positions can choose to marry beautiful women, who in turn marry those men for the money. At least that's how it works in my country. Their children will hopefully be good looking, but they might end up being stupid if they inherit their mother's intelligence (I've seen many cases like that). In that case, they can always marry an intelligent person with money.

I agree with Rod. The

I agree with Rod. The good-looking women in first class are usually the wives and daughters of some rich guy.

In addition, there is an issue of reverse causality mentioned by some. More wealth leads to people being able to worry less (correlation between GDP and happiness), being able to buy more expensive beauty products, enjoy spas & fancy hairdressers etc. which will make them more beautiful.

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Dario Maestripieri, Ph.D., is a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology at the University of Chicago.


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