How Hot You Are Depends on Who You’re With, According to Science

Here’s something you may want to consider the next time you hit the town.

A new study published in the journal Psychological Science reveals that your level of attractiveness varies depending on who you’re with.

It all comes down to context and how good-looking your crew is in comparison to you.


A person will rank higher on a scale of attractiveness when compared to less attractive people than they would when judged alone.

Led by psychologists from Royal Holloway, University of London, the study asked 40 participants to rate pictures of different faces for their attractiveness.

After, they were asked to assess the same faces when they were placed alongside other “distractor faces.”

With the addition of these faces, the level of attractiveness of the original faces increased from the initial ranking, proving that a person’s level of attractiveness isn’t fixed.


“Until now, it’s been understood that a person’s level of attractiveness is generally steady,” Dr. Nicholas Furl, the study’s author, said in a statement. “If you saw a picture of George Clooney today, you would rate him as good-looking as you would tomorrow. However, this work demonstrates that the company we keep has an effect on how attractive we appear to others.”

So, what does this mean for you?

If you’re single and on the prowl, you may want to choose your wingman or woman wisely.

You may also want to reconsider who you’re standing beside in your online dating profile snaps.

Furl says that the findings are also useful for people working in advertising, website design, and consumer behaviour. “People may even socially evaluate a person differently depending on who is standing nearby,” he said.

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