Science has shown that there are indeed turn-offs when it comes to finding the opposite sex attractive and desirable. If a “picture is worth a thousand words,” studies that have taken photographs of one group of participants and shown the images to other participants reveal hidden and intriguing perceptions.
There are nine proven signs of unattractiveness:
1. Sleep Deprivation
Getting at least eight hours of sleep enhances more than your health. Being well-rested is a reflection of your overall health and well-being.
In 2010, an experimental study in Sweden on “perceived health and attractiveness of sleep-deprived” people” investigated whether sleep-deprived people were seen as less healthy, less attractive and more tired than those who had eight hours of sleep.
They photographed 23 healthy sleep-deprived young adults and had 65 untrained observers rate the photographs.
The study, led by researcher John Axelsson, concluded,
Our findings show that sleep deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive, and more tired compared with when they are well rested. This suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behaviour. Studies are warranted for understanding how these effects may affect clinical decision making and can add knowledge with direct implications in a medical context.
2. Being Mean
People who are tagged as being mean or evil tend to be seen as unattractive, even if their photograph shows otherwise.
A Chinese study conducted in 2014 examined the influence of “personality manipulations” on female facial attractiveness.
Scientists recruited 120 participants (60 males and 60 females) and randomly divided them into three groups (40 per group). First, all participants rated 60 facial stimuli on attractiveness. Two weeks later, the participants were presented the photographs with positive, negative or ne personality information.
The study discovered,
Results showed no significant difference in attractiveness scores among the three groups during the first rating. However, during the second rating, a significant effect for each group as well as a significant interaction between attractiveness and the group were found, with the attractiveness scores of all three groups differing significantly for the faces with high, medium, and low attractiveness (positive information group > no information group > negative information group, all p < 0.05). We find that “what is good is beautiful,” with personality reflecting desired traits as facial attractiveness. This phenomenon can also be called the “halo effect.” We can thus presume that personality traits may contribute to judging facial attractiveness and that the personality traits desired in a person are reflected in facial preference.
3. Contractive Body Language
Contractive body language (closed up postures like having arms crossed of hunching the shoulders) is not seen as attractive. More open gestures, like open arms are found to be more inviting.
A Princeton University study in 2016 proved this theory,
This set of studies tested whether humans are more attracted to individuals displaying their bodies expansively, a behavior considered to express both dominance and openness. Results from two field studies—a speed-dating event and a controlled experiment using a Global Positioning System-based dating application—suggested that (i) expansive (vs. contractive) body posture increases one’s romantic desirability; (ii) these results are consistent across gender; and (iii) perceived dominance and perceived openness are mechanisms through which expansiveness exerts its effect. These findings indicate that in modern-day dating contexts, in which initial attraction often is determined by a rapid decision following a brief interaction or seeing a photograph, displays of expansive posture increase one’s chances of initial romantic success.
4. Looking Too Happy or Proud
One would think that appearing happy or proud would be a virtue. Maybe, maybe not.
In 2011, researchers conducted an experiment on 1,000 people by showing them photographs of the opposite sex and asking them to rate their attractiveness. The images showed expressions of happiness, pride and shame or of being neutral.
The results were rather surprising,
a large gender difference emerged in the sexual attractiveness of happy displays: happiness was the most attractive female emotion expression, and one of the least attractive in males. In contrast, pride showed the reverse pattern; it was the most attractive male expression, and one of the least attractive in women. Shame displays were relatively attractive in both genders, and, among younger adult women viewers, male shame was more attractive than male happiness, and not substantially less than male pride. Effects were largely consistent with evolutionary and socio-cultural-norm accounts. Overall, this research provides the first evidence that distinct emotion expressions have divergent effects on sexual attractiveness, which vary by gender but largely hold across age.
We keep reading about the deleterious effects of stress on the human condition. It has been shown that stress not only harms your body, but influences how you are perceived by others. A study in Latvia revealed that a woman’s attractiveness is based on her stress level. Lower stress hormones are an indicator of fertility and good health. Thus, less stressed women are considered more desirable.
The study states,
Here, we photographed young Latvian women, vaccinated them against hepatitis B and measured the amount of specific antibodies produced, cortisol levels and percentage body fat. Latvian men rated the attractiveness of the women’s faces. Interestingly, in women, immune responsiveness (amount of antibodies produced) did not predict facial attractiveness. Instead, plasma cortisol level was negatively associated with attractiveness, indicating that stressed women look less attractive. Fat percentage was curvilinearly associated with facial attractiveness, indicating that being too thin or too fat reduces attractiveness. Our study suggests that in contrast to men, facial attractiveness in women does not indicate immune responsiveness against hepatitis B, but is associated with two other aspects of long-term health and fertility: circulating levels of the stress hormone cortisol and percentage body fat.
6. Lacking a Sense of Humor
Laughter is not only the beast form of medicine but also attractive to the opposite sex.
This was shown in a 2009 study on the effect of humor on interpersonal attraction and selection of a mate.
The authors examined whether different levels of sense of humor would influence respondents’ ratings about a potentially desirable partner. The authors used vignettes to predict that the targets who possessed a good sense of humor would receive significantly higher ratings in measures of attractiveness and suitability as a long-term partner than would those who possessed an average or no sense of humor. In an experimental design–with gender and humor as independent variables and level of attractiveness and suitability as a long-term partner as dependent variables–the authors analyzed the data using a multivariate analysis of variance. Results show that the targets with a good sense of humor received significantly higher ratings of attractiveness and suitability than did those with an average or no sense of humor. Furthermore, male participants rated female targets as significantly more attractive than female participants rated male targets. The authors found no significant interaction between gender and humor.
Of course, when seeking a mate, having someone with ambition and the ability to offer support is important.
Three naturalistic studies were conducted in 2004. Instead of using photographs to determine attractiveness, this research used task-oriented criteria.
Student groups, one being a rowing team and one being an archaeology class, were recruited. The subjects were rated on attractiveness prior to the task and after. Those who were rated high in the beginning yet shown to be lazy by the end were rated unattractive overall.
In conclusion, thinking of beauty as an assessment of fitness value leads to the prediction that nonphysical factors should have a strong effect on the perception of physical attractive-ness. In addition, naturalistic studies are needed to fully understand how physical and nonphysical factors are integrated in the perception of physical attractiveness. If we were to state our results in the form of a beauty tip, it would be, ‘‘If you want to enhance your physical attractiveness, become a valuable social partner.’’
Body odor may be a turn-off or a turn-on. Like other species, humans subconsciously make judgements based on body odor. Sexual attractiveness., compatibility and unfaithfulness have a great deal to do with odor similarities and differences.
A University of New Mexico study in 2006 recruited committed heterosexual couples to answer questions and provide oral DNA swabs. The swabs were tested in a lab to compare their histocompatibility complex (MHC), immune system related genes.
It was discovered that the more similar the MHC’s were, the more likely a couple was to stray to other sexual partners. It also found that people avoid partners who smell too different from us,
As the proportion of MHC alleles couples shared increased, women’s sexual responsivity to their partners decreased, their number of extrapair sexual partners increased, and their attraction to men other than their primary partners increased, particularly during the fertile phase of their cycles.
Compared to all other traits, the one trait that was found to be the most important was honesty in determining a person’s attractiveness.
This was shown in a 2006 study,
A 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 factorial experiment evaluated the effect of personality information on perceptions of a target’s physical attributes. Student judges (N = 256) read a description of a male or female target person in which three personality traits were manipulated to be high or low: intelligence, independence, and honesty. The judges were then given a head and shoulders photograph of the target person and asked to rate him or her on several physical characteristics. The results indicated a substantial effect of the honesty manipulation on judges’ perceptions, whereby the honest target, as opposed to the dishonest target, was seen as being more fit and in better health and as having a face that looked more kind, feminine, and attractive. Analysis of covariance showed that these effects were largely mediated by a general liking for the target.
In conclusion, if you want to be attractive to the opposite sex, get a good night’s rest, be kind, use open body language, eliminate stress, don’t appear to be too happy or proud, be funny, show ambition, smell good and most of all, be honest. Honesty is the best policy!