True Beauty? The Truth Is, We're All Uglier Than We Think

Wait, what? According to a new study, we all think we're considerably more attractive than we are.

The scientists who ran the study - one Nicholas Epley and one Erin Whitchurch - showed a bunch of students pictures of their faces, brought them back a few weeks alter and asked them to identify their face from a series of eleven morphed images, which ranged from, as Scientific American terms it, "an extremely attractive gender-matched composite face or unattractive targets suffering from craniofacial syndrome." And apparently folks chose "more attractive" versions of themselves.

If this is true - and already the notion of "extremely attractive gender-matched composite faces" is setting off some Eugenics-triggered alarm bells - then, isn't it basically a good thing? After all, if by "beauty" we mean a socially acceptable consensus, then surely overestimating one's similarity to said ideal can only make self-confidence higher, never bad. Basically, it means we overestimate our sexual desirability, which seems like a survival instinct less than an artificial product of inflated self-esteem. They don't mention, of course, those few poor souls who went for the " craniofacial syndrome" version of themselves - who, one hopes, were given a little gratis counseling.

Think You're Good-Looking? Think Again [Scientific American]