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Mixed-Race People 'More Attractive'

perplexed manBut UK study appears one sided.

In the largest study of its kind Dr Michael Lewis of Cardiff University's School of Psychology, collected a random sample of 1205 black, white, and mixed-race faces.

Each face was then rated for their perceived attractiveness to others -- with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as being more attractive.

Dr Lewis, who recently presented his findings to the British Psychological Society's annual meeting said: 'Previous, small scale, studies have suggested that people of mixed-race are perceived as being more attractive than non-mixed-race people. This study was an attempt to put this to the wider test.

'A random sample of black, white, and mixed-race faces was collected and rated for their perceived attractiveness. There was a small but highly significant effect, with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as more attractive.'

The study could also have wider implications than just attractiveness.

First established by Darwin in 1876, heterosis (or hybrid vigour) is a biological phenomenon that predicts that breeding between the races leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents.

As heterosis is considered to be a universal biological effect, it is possible that humans are also subject to its influence and helps explain why mixed-race people appear more attractive.

Dr Lewis added: 'The results appear to confirm that people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive than those whose backgrounds are less diverse. This can be taken as evidence for heterosis among human population groups.'

'There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the impact of heterosis goes beyond just attractiveness. This comes from the observation that, although mixed-race people make up a small proportion of the population, they are over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions like acting with Halle Berry, Formula 1 racing with Lewis Hamilton; and, of course, politics with Barack Obama.'

Sharron Hall adds:
From a mixed-race perspective there are obviously other things to take into account. For instance mixed-race individuals are still not fully accepted in society and social environment can have a negative effect on an individual's sense of well being. What is the use of being considered more attractive if you are also left out of society because of the way you look.

Mixed-race individuals may well be over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions but they are also over-represented in the care system, in areas of mental health and in school exclusions. Furthermore they are not represented in the national curriculum, scenes of history and of course politics.

One man as president is not overrepresentation Dr Lewis.

Dr Lewis' work however is to be welcomed if only to show how important social science is when measuring the true relevance of genetic studies.


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