Facial attractiveness is predicted by parental income during childhood.

By Seriously Science | February 18, 2015 11:31 am
Photo: flickr/stewtopia

Photo: flickr/stewtopia

If you’re like most people, you probably think that looks are mostly genetic–either you’re genetically “blessed” with good looks, or you’re not. But apparently it’s not as simple as that. According to this study, facial attractiveness in high school yearbook photographs increases with paternal education and parental income, “with the latter effect being stronger for female subjects.” In other words, rich kids tend to be more attractive, and especially girls. Whether the parents themselves being rich was related to their looks (which might make the effect genetic after all)…well, we’ll leave that for another study.

Effects of parental socio-economic conditions on facial attractiveness.

“Socio-economic conditions during early life are known to affect later life outcomes such as health or social success. We investigated whether family socio-economic background may also affect facial attractiveness. We used the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (n = 8434) to analyze the association between an individual’s parental socio-economic background (in terms of father’s highest education and parental income) and that individual’s facial attractiveness (estimated by rating of high school yearbook photographs when subjects were between 17 and 20 years old), controlling for subjects’ sex, year of birth, and father’s age at subjects’ birth. Subjects’ facial attractiveness increased with increasing father’s highest educational attainment as well as increasing parental income, with the latter effect being stronger for female subjects as well. We conclude that early socio-economic conditions predict, to some extent, facial attractiveness in young adulthood.”

Related content:
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NCBI ROFL: Unhappy yearbook photos herald crappier lives.
NCBI ROFL: Italian supermodels are hot. Romans with big noses are not.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: duh, holy correlation batman!
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  • lump1

    They conclude that early socio-economic conditions predict, to some extent, facial attractiveness in young adulthood???

    Why not conclude that assortive mating leads to richer men having children with women who are more likely to give birth to prettier children? The socio-economic conditions may have nothing to do with it. Those girls might just have hotter moms.

    • Helmut_Schmidt69

      Discover, like most mainstream science mags, has liberal editors uncomfortable with genetics. Beauty correlates with IQ and IQ correlates with income. This is old news.

    • Reason 180

      The two quotes, below, aren’t incompatible. “Predicts” doesn’t mean “causes.” Rather, “predicts” means “statistically associated with.”
      _______________________________
      “They conclude that early socio-economic conditions predict, to some extent, facial attractiveness in young adulthood???”

      “Why not conclude that assortive mating leads to richer men having children with women who are more likely to give birth to prettier children? The socio-economic conditions may have nothing to do with it. Those girls might just have hotter moms.”

  • yes

    Money buys make up.

  • David Cook

    Wow, so many factors could be at work here, Richer children might have fewer problems and have many more periods of happiness. (I wouldn’t know). Over the long term could it effect facial appearance?

  • Too Many

    A more accurate summary or titleqq should be: “Children of Rich Parents Typically Are More Attractive Because Their Parents Are Able To Select Better Looking Partners”.

    • sudon’t

      Exactly that. Also, as David Cook mentions, working and poor people become careworn. You can really notice wealthy people by their faces, or skin, especially those born into it. I worked in a large bank for a time, and it was quite striking how different the very wealthy looked.

  • Pretty Pretty Girl

    excuse me but my parents were broke and I’m GORGEOUS.

  • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

    I actually worked with the guy at the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey who was doing this research. A polish PhD student from Economics (if I remember correctly). We were scanning yearbooks and he was doing measurements and comparisons with the longitudinal data.

    Too bad this was put out by evolutionary psychologists… blech.

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