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A Link Between Attractiveness and Intelligence

posted Jan 29, 2014, 6:57 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 9, 2014, 8:49 AM by Knight Writer ]
Rachell Resnik

In a recent article by Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, she discussed the results of a study which found that people attribute intelligence to good-looking, attractive people. Some students were rated higher in intelligence and potential for success just because they were considered to be “good-looking”. This brings up the question: are “attractive” students favored by teachers because they look intelligent? 


A published study by three sociology professors found that, “the difference in GPA and college graduation rates between youth rated by others as attractive, versus average in looks, is similar to the differences in academic achievement between youth raised in two-parent versus single-parent families."


Also found in the study was that the effects of being viewed as attractive by peers go beyond high school, and a feeling of self-confidence is a powerful tool in adult life. Confident people are often viewed as attractive.


On the other side of the coin, the effects of being deemed “unattractive” by peers may lead to depression and a lifetime of feeling inferior. While we can’t control what is deemed attractive and unattractive due to its subjective nature, it’s important to realize human tendency to have higher approval of the attractive.


Although, many students and staff at Van Buren disagreed with the study and found that hardworking, put together students are the ones getting good grades.


When presented with the study, senior Ted Simmons said, “I see the people that work hard get good grades.”


Many students agreed with Simmon’s statement, finding that hard work and determination trumps attractiveness in terms of getting good grades and determining a person’s intelligence. When it comes to teachers favoring “attractive” students, no one at Van Buren saw this happening. Rather, teachers and students saw a link in how well one presents his or herself to the effort level in the classroom.


One Van Buren teacher said, “ I think teachers have a preconceived notion of students that don’t take care of themselves. Teachers respond better to well kept, clean students.”


Senior Mary Davidson said, “People who take care of themselves; it shows they put more effort in things. It’s about effort, not true attractiveness.”


Many students and teachers responded to the study by contradicting it, saying that usually the attractive people are the unintelligent, ditzy ones in today’s society. One student commented that being smart is attractive, but being attractive doesn’t indicate one’s intelligence.


          While the study resulted in a link between looks and brains, here at Van Buren, the students and staff strongly disagreed with this notion. Many found it’s about hard work and putting in a little effort in presentation. Maybe it’s time to skip the sweats when in need of a good grade. Take our poll and share your opinion on the issue! Also check out the original article on CNN here.


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