Hopkins study may show that beauty is in the eye -- or the mind -- of the beholder

What makes a person attractive? It might not have much to do with looks, Hopkins researchers say.

What makes a person attractive?

A warm smile? Bright eyes? Smooth skin?

According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, other people's perceptions of a person's attractiveness can be more important than the person's appearance.

Professor Haiyang Yang of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Leonard Lee, a professor at the National University of Singapore, analyzed attractiveness ratings in an online dating site for a study released yesterday.

They found that people tended to agree with ratings of a person's attractiveness -- even when the ratings were manipulated by researchers. 

In other words, if participants were shown a photo of person and told that others thought the person was highly attractive, they would agree.

But if other participants were shown the same photo and told others had given the person's appearance low marks, they would think the person was not very attractive.

Perhaps beauty is actually in the mind of the beholder.


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