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social norms

Women don't mind if men are ugly, as long as they don't misbehave

A new study has found that unattractiveness can compound the negative effect of breaking a social norm.

A NEW STUDY by an American university has found that a woman’s opinion of a man is mainly determined by two factors – his attractiveness and how well behaved he is.

This is according to a new study published in the most recent edition of ‘Gender Issues’. 

The research looked at the importance of first impressions and how they impacted on long-term relationships.

It was found that for women, the most important features for a man to have was attractiveness and a tendency to stick to social norms.

According to Science Daily, such impressions are often “made in a flash” but can often be incorrect.

The study

The research was carried out by Jeremy Gibson and Jonathan Gore at the Eastern Kentucky University, with testing being carried out on 170 university-aged women.

They were shown two male faces, one attractive and one not attractive – although both with similar features.

The researchers then gave the girls two different scenarios for each individual picture they were shown – one in which the person in the picture committed a major faux-pas, and the other where they didn’t.

It was found that a man doing something socially out of step was a bigger put off than his being unattractive.

What did it identify?

One of the main findings of the study was the ‘devil’ and ‘halo’ effects.

With the ‘devil’ effect, the less-attractive man was tolerated up to the point that he committed a certain social transgression. After this, the negative perception of his wrong doing was amplified by his ugliness.

“The unattractive male is tolerated up to a point; his unattractiveness is OK until he misbehaves,” Gibson explained. 

This was shown to be particularly prevalent in online dating profiles – where displaying alarming information is much more likely to be forgiven for more attractive men, demonstrating the ‘halo’ effect.

It was also found in the course of the study that more attractive men were likely to get less severe fines and sentences in the judicial system.

Read: Drink up! Scientists say you’re more attractive after having a glass of wine

Also: Is there a scientific way to tell how good looking you are?

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