If you’re in love with someone beautiful, you’re probably delusional. Your sweetie is ugly, and you may be, too.
We know this is a harsh finding, but data bear it out. Researchers dug in to the web site Hot or Not, the silly “judge a photo” site that has grown into a dating service, and found a treasure trove of human mating behavior. Key findings: Almost all users of the service rated people the same on a “hotness” scale of 1 to 10 (proving we all recognize beauty or the beast when asked to judge a picture); yet users who were themselves rated lower on the scale were more likely to want to date others lower in the beauty rankings. In fact, for every 1 point on the 1-10 scale a user dropped in attractiveness, he or she was 25% more likely to accept a date.
Hmm. Ponder the horrible truth. We all really recognize beautiful people. But if we are more, um, normal in appearance, we’re more likely to want to date others at that level.
The coolest thing about the data — and we know you’re digging this — is there is a diminishing curve in terms of how much higher on the beauty scale a dater is willing to stretch. If the photo of the prospective date was somewhat better looking than the user, his or her interest in the date increased … up to a point. Once the “hotness” level increased too much, user interest fell off, like this:
The scientists conclude that matchmaking is hardwired into our genes. Moderately attractive people go after other moderately attractive people, since the odds of rejection are lower — and thus finding a mate more likely. As like attracts like, the genes get passed on, ensuring human survival even though we don’t all look like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. For marketers and creatives, this may mean it’s time to re-evaluate the use of extremely beautiful models in advertising, since too much of a hot thing could turn the mediocre masses off.
(Thanks Odd Numbers.)