Researchers have long told us that physically attractive people get more breaks and do better than the rest of us, so it’s not surprising that a recent study by the Society for Research in Child Development concluded that “better-looking” kids may get better grades and enjoy more “success” in their school, personal and professional lives than do their peers.
According to TIMEhealth, the researchers followed the performance of 9000 high school students, and found that beauty often preceded success, both in school and after graduation. The study also concluded that compared to average-looking kids, handsome boys and pretty girls may reap greater benefits from being teachers' pets or parents' favorites and have happier outlooks on life while in school.
The TIMEhealth reviewer goes on to ask, “What comes first, the cart or the horse”? In other words, do we think great personalities and intelligence result from good looks, or do we think that positive traits just make the people who have them seem more attractive? Wikipedia shows the future Pope Francis as a fairly attractive 12-year-old child in a group photo, but it's impossible to say just how much more good-looking he seems, than if we were not acquainted through the media with his effective communications skills and great humility.
And if we think about those who succeed, common sense dictates that good looks can account for less success in life than we might otherwise assume, even for the very beautiful. Certainly Miley Cyrus is good looking, but we question whether she would be a superstar without her great voice or her famous dad. Obviously, we know from the news many facts that weaken the assumption Cyrus made it because of her good looks, but we can only hope to unearth vital facts about an unknown that might contribute to that person's success.
TIMEhealth ends its review by pointing out that the authors of the study may, like others, have "put their cart before their horse." The researchers noted each child’s level of attractiveness at the end of each interview, and only after having been "exposed to each child’s personality.” Because of that oversight, the study's assumptions about beauty and success may be very wrong.