Pretty People Are More Selfish

New study finds those with symmetrical faces less likely to cooperate

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 15, 2011 2:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – A pretty face comes with many benefits, but apparently a sense of selflessness is not one of them. A new study shows that people with more symmetrical facial features—which tend to be viewed as more attractive—are more likely to be selfish. Subjects were studied under laboratory conditions and were given the choice between acting as a cooperative "dove" or a selfish "hawk." Those with more symmetrical faces were less likely to choose the dove role, and were also less likely to expect others to do the same.

Evolution may be to blame: "As people with symmetrical faces tend to be healthier and more attractive, they are also more self-sufficient and have less of an incentive to cooperate and seek help from others," the researchers write. "Through natural selection over thousands of years, these characteristics continue to the present day." The findings will be presented at the Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany later this month, the Guardian reports.

British model Kate Moss attends the Swarovski Fashion Rocks, held at the Royal Albert Hall, London, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007.   (AP Photo/Nathan Strange)
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