Are Tanned People Perceived As More Attractive?
The aesthetic glow of a suntan.
Posted Jun 13, 2011
Returning to the issue at hand, are tanned people perceived as more attractive? Vinh Q. Chung et al. (2010) published a paper in Dermatologic Surgery in which they tested this exact premise. They took photos of 45 women, and posted these on the Hot or Not website (a site wherein individuals can offer 1-10 attractiveness ratings of submitted photos). Furthermore, using an Adobe Photoshop option, the authors artificially created tanned versions of the 45 photos. Accordingly, ratings were elicited for both the "untanned" (n = 6,228) and tanned (n = 8,988) versions of the photos. The authors analyzed the data in one of three ways, all of which yielded the same conclusion: tanned individuals were perceived as more attractive than their untanned versions. When matching the data within individuals, 12 of the 45 individuals saw an increase in their attractiveness (when tanned), 2 of the 45 individuals yielded a decrease in attractiveness (when tanned), and the remaining photos did not yield a statistically significant change (within-individuals). Hence, whereas at the aggregate, a tan improves an individual's perceived attractiveness, this did not hold for the majority of submitted photos. Incidentally, the researchers had originally included photos of men as well. However, these did not garner a sufficiently high number of ratings so photos of men were dropped from further consideration.
As I type these words, I realize that I am fighting a losing battle to maintain my vacation tan. By next week, I'll be back to "lighter Canadian" Gad as compared to the current "Lebanese olive-skinned" Gad!
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