What is good is beautiful: Face preference reflects desired personality

Anthony C. Little, D. Michael Burt, David I. Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (SciVal)


The current study examined whether desired personality influences face preference. Pairs of composite faces were made based on the faces that individuals differing in desired partner personality found most attractive. One composite represented a face most attractive to those desiring a particular trait and the other a face most attractive to those not desiring the same trait. Pairs were presented to different participants to ascertain whether the composites reflected the desired personality of the original raters. For several traits the composites did differ in perceived personality indicating that the personality desired in a partner is reflected in face preference: if a trait is desired then faces perceived to possess that trait are found more attractive than faces which do not possess that trait. These findings cast new light on the "what is beautiful is good" stereotype. What an individual desires in partner reflects what they consider "good", and they find faces reflecting these desired traits as attractive - "what is good is beautiful". Possessing personality traits that are attractive may be causal in making a face attractive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1118
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Beautiful is good
  • Desired traits
  • Facial attractiveness
  • Personality attribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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