March 15, 2008

Perhaps beautiful people are not more intelligent after all

The author is criticizing Kanazawa and Kovar (2004) Why beautiful people are more intelligent. The paper's conclusion:
Measuring intelligence and its correlates is a fundamental research endeavour in psychology which has attracted huge interest and no little controversy amongst scholars. It is vital therefore that claims about the relationship between intelligence and other variables are carefully established. This paper argues that KK's claim is theoretically suspect and that the evidence that is claimed to support it is, in fact, weak and inconclusive.
What struck me when reading the recent paper is how little direct and strong evidence for a relationship between beauty and intelligence in adults exists. It is known, for example, that beautiful people make more money, that intelligent people make more money, but one can't conclude on the basis of these two facts that beauty and intelligence go together in the same individuals. Hopefully someone will study the issue of cognitive ability and beauty directly.

Intelligence doi:10.1016/j.intell.2008.01.003

Beauty and intelligence may – or may not – be related

Kevin Denny

Abstract

In a recent paper, [Kanazawa S. & Kovar J.L. (2004). Why beautiful people are more intelligent, Intelligence, 32, 227–243] assert that given certain empirical regularities about assortative mating and the heritability of intelligence and beauty, that it logically follows that more intelligent people are more beautiful. It is argued here that this “theorem” is false and that the evidence does not support it.

Link

14 comments:

Dean said...

There are a hell of a lot of plain or unattractive people running the world. In regards to economic success, men probably get away with looking worse than women.

Antigonos said...

How do you label someone as been beautiful or not?
Beauty is something artificial which is created in each society by some groups.
Western societies after W.W. 2 have their model of what is beautiful and what is not created by gays, lesbians and abnormal people. Magazines, TV programs, shows, etc. are run by these groups which have created a raw model which perceives a woman as beautiful when she is stupid, thin like a skeleton, rude, naive and spoiled.
For a man they have a model that wants beautiful men to be shallow minded, with hollow personality, feminine, passive, "tolerant", and generally a girlish man who is in the middle of the boy-girl way!
Democracy has adopted as its moral i.e. what is acceptable and what is not, what is considered superior and what inferior the model of life promoted by the Diet and Fashion Industries!!!
If you have a fashionable physical appearance then even if you are a complexive, uneducated, ill raised person you are considered as OK and...cool!!!
The results of this model are catastrophic especially for the way parents are raising their kids and what goals do they inspire them!
Unfortunately in the Indoeuropean societies were the character (*menos nerom) and generally the psychological features of a person were the ones that counted, now we have societies who remind us more of a brothel!!!
In Europe where Giants of Human intellect and affairs ruled, now they rule the degenerated, low life, complexive rabble men!
Let's hope that this will change soon!!!

Dienekes said...

There is interobserver agreement in ratings of beauty or attractiveness, and this tends to cross cultural and age boundaries, indicating that despite personal preferences there is an objective component to beauty.

Antigonos said...

If the supposed beautiful women of today were able to go back 70 years they would have been considered as ugly as hell!!!
Not to mention the repulsion that their behavior and overall figure would have generated to people of those days.
Additionally if you take a beautiful woman or man of nowadays and you dress them and make their hair etc. in a non fashionable way how much attractive do you think they 're going to be?
Only look at some paparazzi photos of various celebrities who were caught unprepared and not dressed and decorated properly and you will see that most of the comments they get are negative and many of their fans feel repulsed by what they see!!!

dienekesp said...

>> If the supposed beautiful women of today were able to go back 70 years they would have been considered as ugly as hell!!!

Since there is no way of performing your experiment, it is meaningless. The opposite, however, can be performed, and I would bet that many e.g., Hollywood actors/actresses from the 30's would still be considered beautiful today.

>> Additionally if you take a beautiful woman or man of nowadays and you dress them and make their hair etc. in a non fashionable way how much attractive do you think they 're going to be?

They will be more attractive than a non-attractive person similarly groomed.

>> Only look at some paparazzi photos of various celebrities who were caught unprepared and not dressed and decorated properly and you will see that most of the comments they get are negative and many of their fans feel repulsed by what they see!!!

That is not specific to celebrities. The public appearance of most women differs from their private appearance. The difference in celebrities is more striking because one is used to seeing their public persona.

In any case, ratings of beauty in published studies rarely focus on celebrities because of the confounding factor of how one much one likes the celebrity prior to the test.

Dean said...

I think physical appearance is easier to change than personality. If a person is unattractive, the person may realistically be able to improve his or her looks, sometimes dramatically. Improving a bad personality takes a lot of work, time and honest self reflection. Personality is strongly ingrained, and personality disorders are very hard to treat.

There is sometimes a big difference between who people consider attractive and who they wind up with in relationships.

I agree that beauty is on the whole universal. Dysmorphic faces would be almost universally considered less attractive.

Antigonos said...

Oh, but there is a way to judge if women of the 30's would be considered attractive today!
Show photos of them to young men of nowadays!!!
Show the models of the 30s today and what you will get is: Bliah, How ugly are they!!
Models from the 30s were plumpy compared to nowadays where models are like some kids from Ethiopia and sub Saharan Africa that you can see their bones and limbs due to the lack of food. Anorexia is one of the results of the beauty model promoted by gay and lesbian fashion designers of today!
Men of our times have been taught to like skinny girls and if you show them women of the 30's they will dislike them. Look in Greece for example. Show photos of Maria Vempo, or the Kaluta sisters, etc. and you will see that i am correct.
The only possibility for modern men to like some divas from the past is if they were TV stars cause the audience has somehow get familiarized with them and their personal look.
In concluding Beauty is not a measurable thing. It is not like Maths, Geometry, Astronomy, Anthropometry, etc. There is no such thing as wrong and right in Beauty.
What you refer as globally non attractive does not hold because it has been misinterpreted.
If you show a woman or a man that for example has a very big and bizarre nose and another with a normal nose then of course the former would be less favored by people of all races. BUT NOT BECAUSE OF BEAUTY. The detaste of people towards a person who has an irregularity i.e. an unsymmetrical head, unsymmetrical limbs, legs, hands, or few hair, bad teeth formation, etc. has n't anything to do with Beauty BUT WITH HEALTH!!!
Bad physical (irregular) formation signals for Health problems in our instincts. Our feelings say to us that there is something wrong with this individual that might cost us a defective propagation of our genes or even the non propagation at all!!!
In order for you my dear Dienekes to see that Beauty is not objective is TO COMPARE PEOPLE WHO ARE PHYSICALLY REGULAR I.E. HEALTHY!!!
Then you will see that women who are of the same characteristics but dress differently (i.e. the one follows the fashion while the other does n't) are not considered as equally beautiful!!!
The same goes for men. The haircut, the clothes, the behavior ALL affect us in our judgment of what is beautiful and what is not!
Twingy, a skinny model of the 50s who will know be considered a doll back then was laughed at and considered ugly. On the contrary fat people who in the 40s and 50s were considered beautiful now are considered as ugly (and socially rejected by the....democratic societies who speak of harmony, peace, and non prejudice to blacks, gays, lesbians, mongoloids, etc. but are very lenient to outcast people who are out of fashion. Because out of fashion in our Western countries means out of society too.)
Its culture and society along with its moral and ethics gives to its members and some archetypes of beauty, success, approval, rejection, etc.
Thus when you grow up although you think that all your raw models are yours, IN REALITY there are not (except if you are a philosopher). They are your society's choices and not yours.
Each person has each own standards. But when you live in a society in order to survive and not be neglected and rejected you accept the models and archetypes that they give you. That's why Negroes like Negro women and their style in Africa, Evenks and Eskimoes like their women to be of their cultural tastes, Aboriginals do the same, etc. Unless you have an irregularity (and not necessary a deformity), the how attractive you are going to be depends on how successfully do you copy and reflect the beauty model of your generation.
That's why different generations have completely different styles and people considered as good looking in one generation are rejected by the other.

dienekesp said...

I'm sorry, but to deny that there is an objective standard of beauty is to deny both evolutionary thinking, as well as a great deal of data that suggest that despite cultural, gender, and individual preferences, there are things that people tend to agree on, e.g., an even unblemished skin, a low waist-hip ratio for women, etc.

Suetonius said...

I think the relation might be a bit u-shaped. Especially if one focuses on ability in natural sciences. At some intelligence level the average beauty starts to drop.

On the other hand one might be fooled by the fact that the combination of two rarities, extraordinary intelligence and great beauty should be an unlikely event even if the average beauty was the same for all people irrespective of intelligence level. Then there are various ethnicity factors as well.

Dragon Horse said...

So Jews should be more attractive on average than gentile whites according to the previous theory?

Antigonos said...

Dear Dienekes

Each person HAS ITS OWN TASTES of what is beautiful and what is not!!!
That's why people like philosophers who from their early childhood years don't accept their generation's models but hold a skeptical position and trust their own feelings and thoughts have very different and sometimes odd tastes about beauty, fair, wrong, ugliness, etc.
Only people with no personality accept their generation's archetypes IN ORDER NOT TO FEEL NEGLECTED (I.E. BASKETCASES)!!!
That's why not only different cultures and societies but different eras, different generations and groups as well have very different tastes and perceptions of what is charming, attractive, etc.
However, as you said, there is an agreement on what is repulsing and what is not on the basis of health and its signals through the body.
Of course a cripple, a deformed, or even an irregular person that has a part of his body not symmetrical or not in the right shape and analogy will be perceived as repulsing but not on the beauty basis but on the health basis as i said in my last comment.
The repulsion towards this individual would be a subconscious choice based on his unhealthy looking signals and not on the basis of been charming or not. Health signals go first. For more read Konrad Lorenz and Gustave Le Bon.
In conclusion i would like to give an example of how affectively some groups in society create and reject models in no time and the stupid rabble follows like a flock of sheep to their new agendas EVEN if these new beauty agendas promote models TOTALLY OPPOSITE with what they had till recently.
Before the 80s in Western Societies having long hair while been a man was perceived by society as been gay, feminine, pathetic and generally unacceptable!!!
After the 80s it's not only aprovable but it is considered as cool too!!!
The same goes with the earrings and the tattoos.
If a "good looking man" of todays like Brad Pitt or De Caprio or Sakis Rouvas, etc. were going back to the 50s would they be considered as very beautiful men or on the contrary they would not EVEN BE accepted by society?
Be honest my friend and draw your conclusions by studying how men of non fashionable looks were treated in ALL eras and by ALL societies in the past and you will see the truth of my words!!!

dienekesp said...

"We conclude that, in observers naïve to art criticism, the sense of beauty is mediated by two non-mutually exclusive processes: one based on a joint activation of sets of cortical neurons, triggered by parameters intrinsic to the stimuli, and the insula (objective beauty); the other based on the activation of the amygdala, driven by one's own emotional experiences (subjective beauty)."

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2007/11/objective-beauty-in-classical-canon.html

Crimson Guard said...

There is and always has been a set beauty standard and preference. Just wouldnt use Hollywood for it, nor confuse Hollywoods/big media standards to the real things whether past or present.

*Wonder if that old taller people equals smarter than shorter thing is also a ruse?! I would say people of average/medium height are more likely to be smarter(say 5'7-5'10). Also if the mongoloids are any indication, than technically perhaps people of average to below average height are more intelligent. Or perhaps there is no set correlation between any of these things.

Antigonos said...

Dienekes said:

"We conclude that, in observers naïve to art criticism, the sense of beauty is mediated by two non-mutually exclusive processes: one based on a joint activation of sets of cortical neurons, triggered by parameters intrinsic to the stimuli, and the insula (objective beauty); the other based on the activation of the amygdala, driven by one's own emotional experiences (subjective beauty)."

Agreed on that.
But this raises now the following issue!
Which of the two is more powerful and thus dominant in one's mind and tastes!!! Since there is no human being that e.g. judges one woman as been beautiful one day and then the following day as ugly we should indicate which tendency affects his/her judgment! Is it his/her internal archetype or the raw model promoted by his/her society's fashion and trend?
Because you can't say that an individual for the same woman for example in day one he finds her attractive because he uses his cortical neurons which affect the insula and then for day two he finds her ugly because he uses his amygdala!
My opinion is that each society constitutes of three parts. The rabble, the basketcases and the Elit.
The first group which is 90% of each society is really pathetic, passive and unable to trust its instincts and archetypes because of the fear of been neglected. They follow the raw model of their society and generation.
The second group has nothing different in terms of the wills and desires of the rabble but because this group has individuals who for some reason (the way they dress themselves, the way they have been brought up, their non fashionable physical looks, etc.) are seen as non desirable by the rabble, they separate themselves from it (or are been separated by the rabble itself) and follow some different tastes and standards than the mob. Sometimes this group tries to pretend that they are special and better than the mob and that they belong to the Elit but that of course is nonsense!!!
This second group constitutes the 8% of a society. They will neither follow their internal archetypes because they feel repulsed by them (most of the times because the rabble has created them a complex about those tastes) nor they will follow the rabble's models because they can't be aligned with those.
The last group is the Elit. The natural aristocracy of each society!
The philosophical con of each breed!
The people who belong in that group are not following the models of the rabble but they dislike them. They have a critique about how things are and how should have been and they apply this critique not only to their generation's and society's tastes but also to the bad habits and tenses of their self. They are what Nietzsche called the "Superhuman". Their difference from the rest of their society is as big as the distance that differentiates the average human from the ape!!!
This group constitutes for only 2% of each society. They follow the raw models that their philosophical background has indicated them and not what the fashion of their times or their overall internal instincts have pointed them.
Thus if we want to make a summary about beauty and if this is based on the internal impulses or the fashion current of each society we have to say that for 90% of the people occurs the latter while for the rest 10% does not.
Hence for the overwhelming majority of humankind, beauty is an artificial thing that is being bestowed upon societies by the particular generations' trend and fashion models which are produced by specific groups.
This majority does this in order to feel important, accepted and valuable by this shallow ways since its character does n't allow it to be valuable and important by real, efficient and essential ways!!!