Study: Women think they’re more attractive than they actually are

Remember that Dove real beauty video that went viral for showing how women view themselves versus how they actually look? A new study says the theory posited there is BS.

dove real beauty


The study, unearthed by Scientific American and conducted in 2008 by researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago, shows that women suffer from something they’re calling “self-enhancement,” the act of viewing yourself as more attractive than the rest of the world does.

The methodology of the study, explained by Scientific American:

“The researchers took pictures of study participants and, using a computerized procedure, produced more attractive and less attractive versions of those pictures. Participants were told that they would be presented with a series of images including their original picture and images modified from that picture.

“They were then asked to identify the unmodified picture. They tended to select an attractively enhanced one.”

The “self-enhancement” trope is tied to a psychological theory that people generally overestimate the likelihood that they’ll participate in a positive situation.

I, for one, am shocked that the results of a viral video designed to move beauty products might not be the most accurate representation of a psychological theory. Glad it took a scientific publication digging through five-year-old archives to smarten us up to it.