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Impact Factor:0.917 | Ranking:Psychology 64 out of 76 | Psychology, Experimental 80 out of 85
Source:2016 Release of Journal Citation Reports, Source: 2015 Web of Science Data

Why are Mixed-Race People Perceived as more Attractive?

  1. Michael B Lewis
    1. School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Tower Building, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AT, Wales, UK
  1. e-mail: LewisMB{at}cardiff.ac.uk


Previous, small scale, studies have suggested that people of mixed race are perceived as being more attractive than non-mixed-race people. Here, it is suggested that the reason for this is the genetic process of heterosis or hybrid vigour (ie cross-bred offspring have greater genetic fitness than pure-bred offspring). A random sample of 1205 black, white, and mixed-race faces was collected. These faces were then rated for their perceived attractiveness. There was a small but highly significant effect, with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as more attractive. This result is seen as a perceptual demonstration of heterosis in humans—a biological process that may have implications far beyond just attractiveness.

  • Received December 2, 2009.
  • Revision received December 17, 2009.
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