Facebook beauty more than skin deep

2012-04-23 21:43

Paris - Having attractive friends will make you more popular on Facebook, especially if you are a woman, according to a new study that takes Charles Darwin into the domain of cyber networking.

The findings show that signs of reproductive fitness sway our decisions about friendship, Dutch researcher Piet Kommers told AFP.

"People are attracted by other people who look very healthy, happy and productive in a sexual sense. That is an accepted evolutionary law," he said.

"The very pure healthiness aspect is still dominant. It is hard to suppress that."

The University of Twente team created four mock-up Facebook profiles using pictures of a man and a woman deemed "neutral" for attractiveness in a pre-test evaluation.

Two profile pages were created for each of them.

One page had photographs of two attractive "friends" - a man and a woman - and the other had two unattractive ones.

The profiles were otherwise identical, listing the owners' place of residence, birth date, interests and favourite movies, music and TV shows.

Scientists then showed the profiles at random to 74 students between the ages of 21 and 31, asking them to rate the profile holder's "social attractiveness".

Looks are important

Participants had to consider such questions as "I think he/she could be a friend" or "He/she would be pleasant to be with".

The respondents were a whopping 20% likelier to choose the profile with "attractive" friends, the investigators found.

"The appearance of one's Facebook friends in fact influences the perception of the profile owner," the study said.

"More specifically, the attractiveness of one's associates on Facebook has a direct positive influence on one's own social attractiveness."

Having beautiful friends was especially important for the popularity of women, it found.

The study was published on Monday in the International Journal of Web Based Communities.

The authors note that the opposite is also true. Having unattractive images could harm the appeal of individuals and businesses using social networking sites, they warn.

  • John - 2012-04-24 07:15

    a Whopping 20%? By Gosh, this is revolutionary. Pointless research really. Attractive people are attractive? I think this has been accepted as such since the dawning of Man. Yet every century we find that the idea of what an attractive women/man would look like changes. any way I deleted Facebook since no one wanted to water my crops on farmville. I got shunned by the farmville community and it has left me in immense mental pain and discomfort.

      Preshen - 2012-04-24 08:38

      There are only two words in the English Dictionary that starts with ‘F’ and ends with ‘K’ one is Facebook can you guess the other?

      kobus.scheepers - 2012-04-24 15:15


  • kobus.scheepers - 2012-04-24 07:36

    My word, this is astounding. What utter astounding rubbish. I cannot believe that the word \science\ is used for this. A 10-year old would probably have predicted the outcome.

  • Thando Bella Khoza - 2012-04-24 07:49

    well no research is pointless research but this has just confirmed what we already know. we as humans judge others according to appearance and this is a subconscious thing. now please give us research that will shock us not bore us!

      John - 2012-04-24 07:57

      Confirmed what we already knew? We knew and confirmed it long ago and do so on a daily basis. I think it's safe to say this research is pointless.

  • Jean-pierre - 2012-04-24 13:55

    Ok so there's someone going through everyone's profile checking this. Plus it doesnt take a scientist to work out if your hot your have more Facebook friends, well lets say rather face weirdos you dont actually know who fap to your profile pic.

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