Mean people are attractive because of their meanness, not in spite of it. What I call meanness is more officially known as the "Dark Triad" of personality traits—narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. A recent study shows that people who exhibit these traits are better than people who score lower on the Dark Triad at making themselves appear more attractive.
The meanies aren't necessarily more physically attractive than anyone else, they are just better at using what the study calls "adornments" (clothes, makeup and the like) to make themselves seem more appealing. The researchers, Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube at Washington University in St. Louis, had their subjects remove all makeup, pull long hair back into a ponytail and don a white T-shirt and grey sweatpants. They were rated on their attractiveness in this unadorned state, set loose to adorn themselves to their hearts' content, and rated again. All three Dark Triad traits were associated with higher attractiveness in the adorned state, when controlling for attractiveness in the unadorned state. So you can take some small comfort in knowing that mean people are just as ugly as the rest of us, they're just better at fooling everyone into thinking they're hot.
The study suggests a possible reason why these subjects were compelled to make themselves more attractive: "When people high in Dark Triad traits dress-up, they may experience greater increments in self-esteem or derive more satisfaction from the additional attention they receive, compelling them to continue dressing well."
And it has been well-documented that the physically attractive are seen as more likeable, further explaining the popularity of the bad boys in their motorcycle jackets who make the ladies swoon, and the cruel, selfish high school girls with expensive hair and logo-emblazoned t-shirts. As "Mean Girls"—yet another incisive cultural study—put it: "The weird thing about hanging out with Regina was that I could hate her, and at the same time, I still wanted her to like me."
The inexplicable pull of Regina George, the cruel, popular ringleader, goes beyond just her physical beauty, artificial or not. Her Dark Triad personality traits may actually be helping her. Psychopaths have long been characterized as outwardly charming, and research suggests that narcissists tend to make better first impressions. Studies show that after brief exposure to a new person, people rated those who ranked high for narcissism as more likeable.
But whether your personal Regina George gets hit by a bus or not, beauty will fade with time, and even the strongest first impression can't hide a truly dark interior forever. So chin up, because someday you'll be living in a big old city, and all they're ever gonna be is mean.
The writer of this article states their own opinion and conclusions. PoPSCI is really becoming a rag magazine.
I am currently waiting for the Gee-Wiz excitement and interesting WoWzer articles, I used to love and adore from PoPSCI.
I find ego-centric, snobby people and being mean NOT attractive. Perhaps to someone young these are attractive traits, maybe, but I believe for most mature adults they are looking for something real in a personality they can appreciate and depend on. ~ Robot.
I'm not one to try and bring down other peoples efforts, but this is just trash.
I felt compelled to make an account (after 3 years of anonymous reading) just because the need feels great enough to let you guys know you need to hire better writers; articles like this reflect poorly on the publication.
The author is putting the horse before the cart so to speak. Attractive people do not have to appoligize when they do something socialy unacceptable. They are often surrounded by "yes men" and others that are usually more likely to let their behaviour slide because they are so good looking. Over time, throughout their life, their behaviour is never corrected and they end up being jerks. Basically beauty is a kind of power and it corrupts.
A less atrractive, overweight person has to be a sweetheart, and still that's no gurantees they will be "liked". People won't be quick to dismiss their quirks and try to please them.
This is why beautifull people are dead on the iside. The solution, treat everyone, including someone you may think is supepr attractive equally.
I'm glad you gave a reason for this article being "trash",I actually think from a psych perspective thsi was a well written article.
“When people high in Dark Triad traits dress-up, they may experience greater increments in self-esteem or derive more satisfaction from the additional attention they receive, compelling them to continue dressing well.”
The study suggests that everyone started out at 0 and those with the traits found better satisfaction with the attention and self esteem boosts form looking better there by making them try harder....and it begins a cyclical process of some people trying harder to look better....they did a control showing that with out all the trappings there was no difference between people who did not test high on the test....
This article is asking the wrong question to begin with.
It should be "Why are HOT people so MEAN"
The answer is because they can be. If you are NOT hot and also mean, you are not likely to get away with it. You will be an outcast at best.
Meanness also comes with traits that drive for alpha status - and our biology is programmed to desire those with alpha status.
Machiavellionism is the desire to aquire alpha status and to be unwilling to accept lesser social roles.
Narcassism leads to selfcenteredness which presents itself as independence (an alpha trait).
Psycopathy helps to free behavior from restraint, making the Machiavellionism more effective.
(I must add, that the psycology in the article is far too muddied up by Miss Beck's desire to justify her adolescent struggles).
"narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy"?
Sounds like the New Atheist movement.
"appear more attractive"?
Not so much.
Just because robots aren't interested in psychology doesn't mean it's trash science. I think it's an interseting article.
Perhaps I over reacted. I do appreciate true scientific psychology.
I suppose my knee jerk reaction was too much. The way I first read this article, I saw it as the writer venting many opinions.
I am interested of the opinions as they arrive from a valid scientific source sure. ;)
I didn't see anything wrong with this article either... she's just reporting on a study. In fact, the author presented virtually non of her personal opinions, she only paraphrased the research results.
That said, KillerT and others have good points that the reverse of the study could be the case, that attractiveness begets meanness. In fact, it could work both ways - I see this as an example of Nature vs Nurture, which I believe are equally valid.
Bagpipes100, you have added nothing to the discussion.
It's called a counterexample....very useful.
It's also called trolling....which can be amusing.
Though I do agree with you, they probably have the causation backwards.
Which honestly isn't that surprising given some of the other articles on this site.
Has this Universe a bias towards mean? Mean behaviour derives from competition and the desire to win, and often gets better results than not being mean, unfortunately.
I guess in reflection, all those past peoples who were mean to me, must of been pretty.
Well, I wish to be pretty too, I guess I'll start being mean.
Yea, yea, that's the ticket, lol.
Ok, all of you, you smell funny! And you must really smell funny, since I am using a computer.
There, now I am pretty and eveyone wants to be like me...
Welcome to the twilight zone.
Of course, sometimes people are obnoxious at the time, simply because they can, at the time they do it.
Perhaps we're all readying to much into this.
Another question..Why do girls always want to make friends with game men? http://bit.ly/116ntjz this true?
Oh jeez will you people lay off the Popsci writers for supposedly being not 'sciencey' enough for you 'purists'? They bring interesting and amusing articles and if you geniuses happened to notice, they linked a Sci-Am article.
Not to mention this is more social science rather than 'hard science' and I think the conclusions are fairly reasonable. Mean people do appear more attractive-I'm sure we remember this from our high school days.
I understand that this article might not seem that scientific or factual, but honestly, most branches of psychology really are more qualitative than quantitative. You just have to get used to the fact that the human brain is too complex for numbers sometimes.
I found it quite interesting, myself.
Just wait in the future, when the girls are cyborgs.
Now that will put a spin on this article.
Young People may be in hormonal overdrive, but they are not stupid. I believe I speak for the rest of the majority of the young generation when I say mean girls/guys who try and get guys and girls are not attractive.
I agree with you. Being mean is never attractive at any age. I am not sure what you mean by 'get guys and girls'. That phrase could mean many things.
A "Psychology Today" article wound up in the wrong magazine.
This publication used to be geared to hairy-chested DIYers, not New Age ecoweenies. Maybe it was better back then, certainly less whiny and annoying.
Mercifully at least this one is not full of the climate change tripe.
in order to thank everyone, characteristic, novel style, varieties, low price and good quality, and the low sale price. Thank everyone
│ ● ● │—☆—
│○ ╰┬┬┬╯ ○│／｜＼
│ ╰—╯ ／
Start working with Google. $69 an hour! Seriously I don't know why more people haven't tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…And what’s awesome is I’m working from home so I get more time with my kids. Here’s where I went..www.Google.MEL7.CoM
Mean people are not hot. That's what the movie 'Mean Girls' taught us, duh! Author, Julie Beck, missed the mark, mean people may be feared and therefore get away with a lot but they are definitely NOT hot, which is why there's a HUGE rally AGAINST bullying across the world!!?!
This article should be rewritten to show what people REALLY think of mean people...i.e. they're mean...ugly on the inside and pitiable in the fact that they are not worthy of the attention they get.
Hopefully there are enough good people out there who'll stand up for the rights of NICE people, who make up the 98% of the rest of the world.
Walk away and turn your backs on mean people, don't give them ANY power!! :-)
Oy. Did you miss the mark and probably not read the article. The point of this article is not to state an unproven statement "mean epople are hot" but report of a study of "are mean people more attractive"....and the answer is yes and no. Mean people are more attractive after dressing up and putting on make up because there character traits that make them mean, tend for them to take grater satisfaction out of looking better than non mean people. When all the trapping (jewelery, make up clothing) were taken away they scored equally as well as other people on appearence. Please read articles before posting.
Mean people are all stupid. Some are good looking, some aren't. They all share the stupid gene, though. Anyone who enjoys being mean is not worth knowing. And what the heck is this article doing on Popular Science? Has this publication fallen that far? I suppose the answer is yes.
:-) Strange article for PopSci. However, to quote a well know songwriter's phrase. "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly woman your wife!" nuff said
Attitudes have been steadily changing over the past few decades, with genuine love being cast aside, where concern for others is shelved, with a desire to be tenderly compassionate being swept under the carpet.
Jesus said that lack of love would dominate during his (invisible) "presence" or our time period, saying that "because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will cool off."(Matt 24:12)
So it is not surprising to see meanness become more rampant. And with the increase in technology, this has in many ways, aggravated it, with people becoming more and more impatient, quick to temper, wanting things right now. Self-centeredness and narcissism is like a dangerous virus let on the loose.
On the other hand, king Solomon wrote under inspiration: "The calmness of the tongue is a tree of life, but distortion in it means a breaking down of spirit."(Prov 15:4)
Or at Proverbs 14:14 that says that "the one faithless at heart will be satisfied with the results of his own ways (that is just the way I am, unconcerned how things turned out), but the good man with the results of his dealings (gives thought as to how he handled a situation, whether or not it was loving)."