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Study: Good-Looking people suffer a ‘Beauty penalty’ at work

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Studies in the past have shown that attractive people generally earn a "beauty premium." That is, they earn more money, enjoy better performance reviews and people view them as being more intelligent and trustworthy.

But according to a recent study published by Rice University, those studies may have it wrong. The Rice study shows that attractive people actually suffer from a "beauty penalty," meaning they're penalized more harshly for failing to live up to expectations.

"What we see in our data is that people have very high expectations of attractive people, and when they're disappointed, they react," said Catherine Eckel, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. Eckel co-authored the study with Rice professor Rick Wilson.

The message of the study, according to Eckel, is that attractive people are not "less trustworthy than other people, but they're not more trustworthy either. So if we're aware of our biases, we can do a little better job of making decisions."  

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