Is science making life simple or complex?
Beauty is not subjective. Contrary to popular belief, men and women generally agree on who is and who is not physically attractive, even across different cultures.
What makes someone enjoyable to look at?
High cheekbones, fuller lips, big eyes, and a thin chin are associated with sexiness in women, whereas a big jaw and broad chin are preferred in men. Smooth skin, shiny hair, and facial symmetry are also key aspects of beauty.
According to various studies, these provide measures of health, good genes, intelligence, and success. More often than not, the world rewards beauty.
Here's why it's better to be hot:
#1 Beautiful people are viewed as healthier.
Facial symmetry, considered the beacon of beauty, can be perceived as a sign of health, even if it is not related to actual health. In an Australian study, researchers morphed photographs of young adults so that their faces were perfectly symmetrical. In general, the symmetric version of each face - both male and female - received higher health ratings than the normal image. Individuals with asymmetric faces were perceived as unhealthy.
#2 Beautiful people are actually healthier.
Although the link between facial symmetry and real health is weak, there is some evidence that individuals with more distinct facial features, considered less attractive, are more susceptible to disease, parasites, and other illnesses.
Specifically, in a study of 17-year-olds, researchers found that facial distinctiveness was linked to poor health in both men and women, either during childhood or adolescence. Facial averageness, on the other hand, was linked to good health. One theory is that distinctive facial traits are tied to chromosomal disorders. The preference for average faces may have evolved as a way of identifying a mate with good genes.
#3 It's easier for beautiful people to find mates.
Men seek attractive women as mates because good looks signal youth, health, and reproductive fitness.
#4 Beautiful people are more intelligent.
University of New Mexico researchers found that general intelligence is positively linked to body symmetry, a characteristic that is indicative of attractive qualities like health, social dominance, and fitness-related biological traits.
#5 Beautiful people are more persuasive.
Good-looking people can use their sex appeal to command attention and to get ahead, say in a job interview or when asking for a promotion. Attractive people are more persuasive, in part, because they also possess or develop key personality traits - like intelligence and strong social skills - that make them more effective communicators. Researchers also found that compared to unattractive speakers, attractive speakers were much more fluent talkers.
#6 Companies with good-looking executives have higher sales.
In a study of nearly 300 Dutch advertising agencies, economists found that firms with better-looking executives had higher revenues. Overall productivity and resulting sales were greater in companies with more attractive managers, partly because firms with more attractive workers have the competitive advantage when client interactions are involved.
#7 Beautiful people have an advantage in politics.
Beautiful people have the upper-hand in politics, according to a study in Finland which found that both male and female political candidates who look better than their competitors are more successful. A better individual beauty score was associated with an increase of 20% in the number of votes for the average non-incumbent parliamentary candidate. Perceived competence and trustworthiness had less of an effect. The study authors suggest that voters favour good-looking candidates because they enjoy watching them and they fare better in social situations.
#8 Beautiful people are perceived as more likeable and trustworthy.
Beautiful people are typically treated better by others. In a study from Harvard University, researchers found that wearing makeup, shown to enhance a woman's attractiveness, boosted people's perceptions of that subject's competence, likability, attractiveness, and trustworthiness.
Science can make life more understandable to those familiar with it.
However, it is up to the individual to decide if that fresh understanding - whether of the human genome, evolution or nuclear fission - is beautiful.
Personally, as a scientist, I find all understanding can have it's own beauty - if I but choose to see it.
Science (and art) are the lenses through which we see the beautiful life around us.
No, Science does not make life beautiful. Science is a way of observing the beauty of life. Science can be used to create "beautiful" things, so in a way, it can assist bringing beauty to one's life.