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Study Finds That Beauty Really Does Come From the Inside

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There are some beauty tips we all grew up hearing. If you had a lipstick for every time your mother, grandmother, or any other well-meaning family member told you "it's what's on the inside that counts"—well, your makeup drawer would be overflowing. Turns out, science actually backs up that well-worn phrase. [Tweet this news!] In a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that women with nice personalities are seen as more physically beautiful than mean people. 

For the first half of the study, researchers asked 120 university students60 male and 60 femaleto rate 60 photos of women based on attractiveness. The students gave similar ratings to all photos. Two weeks later, the students returned to complete the second half of the study, only this time, the photos were paired up with a story describing each woman's personality. Again study participants were asked to rate the physical attractiveness of the women in the photos.

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Researchers found that the descriptions had a big impact on the perceived level of attractiveness of the photos. Photos of women who were originally rated highly attractive were rated less beautiful the second time around if their personalities were described as mean. In what researchers called a “Halo Effect,” photos associated with positive stories rated significantly higher. The takeaway? Beauty is most definitely more than skin deep. In other words, Mom was right all along.   

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