Attractive college students are more likely to think the world is fair - study
Ivanka Trump owes her wealth and power to a lot of privilege. But she probably doesn't think that's the case. Source: Reuters/Leah Millis

Your good-looking lab partner at university is more likely to think the world is fair than your less genetically-blessed peers, a new study has found.

These two groups – one which rated themselves attractive and another which had others rate them as attractive –  tend to believe people get what they deserve and deserve what they get, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Reports.

Among the 395 college students studied, the more physically attractive groups were likelier to agree with statements such as “I feel that people get what they are entitled to have” and “I feel that people who meet with misfortune have brought it on themselves”. Both groups also tended to report higher levels of satisfaction with life.

“These findings suggest that physical attractiveness powerfully affects our subjective experience as a human and that just-world beliefs are driven, at least in part, by personal experience with inequality,” the study wrote.

The ‘Just World Hypothesis’ refers to humans’ cognitive bias (or assumption) that everyone gets what they deserve because the world rewards good actions and punishes evil deeds. Privilege – arising from your income, race or gender, to mention only a few – does not dictate your life. Rather, they believe there is a world order that ensures you get what you give.

“Our personal beliefs and values are often simply a reflection of the stimuli that we’ve been exposed to, rather than representations of well thought out positions. In the case of this study, our conceptualization of justice may simply reflect our own privilege,” R Shane Westfall, a PhD student at University of Nevada, Las Vegas and corresponding author of the study said to PsyPost.

The study appears to confirm what we may have concluded in our own, non-scientific way: Society treats hot people better. Thus, hot people get benefits and privileges. Ergo, the world is just. Other previous students have consistently found that those who believe the world is just and fair tend to be privileged folks too.

There are a few notable limitations of the study, however, mainly the diversity of its sample size. Firstly, they were all college students, at an age where Westfall described as “where appearance is both very important and salient”. Secondly, the respondents are all from the US, meaning cultural differences outside the US were not accounted for.

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