Good-looking people seem to have all the luck.
Thanks to the "beauty bias," our largely unconscious preoccupation with and preference for physically attractive people, not only are more attractive people often ascribed positive personality traits like intelligence and kindness, but they also tend to be given unfair advantages in both the workplace and in legal proceedings.
New research also suggests beautiful women have an easier time taking advantage of men financially.
The research, conducted by Chinese psychologists and recently published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, found that men are more likely to accept an unfair offer when it comes from a beautiful woman.
Why? It seems that female beauty undermines the brain's reaction to fairness and unfairness, which in turn skewed the men's judgments.
"The results are in line with previous findings in the area: people behave nicely toward attractive people," University of Stirling psychologist Anthony Little, who was not involved in the study but has conducted research on visual perception and attractiveness, told The Huffington Post. "This study finds that people are also more forgiving toward attractive people when they behave 'unfairly' in the game, which suggests that attractive people can get away with being meaner in life because their beauty means that people forgive them."
For the study, 21 male students at a Chinese university were asked to view 300 photographs of the faces of Chinese women -- half of whom had been rated attractive and half unattractive by a different group of men. Then, the men played a computer game in which they were teamed up with some of the women whose faces they had just viewed. In the game, they viewed the women's faces and then decided whether to accept their proposal to split a small cash sum. Meanwhile, the researchers measured their brain waves and response times.
What did they find? As hypothesized, the men were more likely to accept an unfair offer when it came from an attractive woman. When the "proposers" were attractive women, the men were both quicker to respond to fair offers and slower to respond to unfair offers.
The brain scans of the male subjects revealed greater reward activation when the attractive women proposed offers, as well as a heightened sensitivity and dissatisfaction with unfair offers when the women were unattractive.
But it's not entirely clear why we behave differently toward attractive people, according to Little.
"In some of these economic game studies, where people forgive attractive people or offer more money to attractive people, the people playing will never actually meet. So, we appear to have a bias toward being nice to attractive people even when the rewards to ourselves, such as increasing the chance of a date, wouldn’t apply," Little said. "This suggests our motivations to be nice to attractive people are unlikely to be based on conscious decisions to maximize our own benefits."
The bottom line? Dudes, be careful not to get ripped off by a hot girl.