The latest video in Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign featured women describing themselves to an unseen forensic sketch artist, who drew them as they were described by themselves and then as they were described by a stranger. The sketches based on the stranger's description turned out more attractive, hence Dove's message: "You are more beautiful than you think." But as Scientific American explains, Dove is just plain wrong, and science proves it.
Take, for example, one study, in which participants were presented with images of themselves: One was the real image; others were modified on a computer to look more and less attractive. When asked to select the true image, subjects typically picked a more attractive one; further study showed that they really believed this selection. But Scientific American takes it a step further, noting that science shows we tend to think of ourselves as better than we truly are in plenty of ways: Other studies have shown people also overestimate the likelihood they'll do something good, like vote or donate money to charity; still more research has found that most people believe they are above average in many areas, like driving. What researchers also found: This positive bias does not exist when people are asked to assess strangers.