The importance of attractiveness depends on where you live:

Do good-looking people really benefit from their looks, and in what ways? A team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas found that yes; attractive people do tend to have more social relationships and therefore an increased sense of psychological well-being. This seems like common sense, and might be why we spend billions of dollars each year trying to become more attractive. However, the study, published in this month’s issue of Personal Relationships, also determines that the importance of attractiveness is not universal; rather, it is determined by where we live.

The importance of attractiveness in everyday life is not fixed, or simply a matter of human nature. Instead, the impact of our attractiveness on our social lives depends on the social environment where we live. Attractiveness does matter in more socially mobile, urban areas (and from a woman’s point of view actually indicates psychological well-being), but it is far less relevant in rural areas. In urban areas individuals experience a high level of social choice, and associating with attractive people is one of those choices. In other words, in urban areas, a free market of relationships makes attractiveness more important for securing social connections and consequently for feeling good. In rural areas, relationships are less about choice and more about who is already living in the community. Therefore, attractiveness is less likely to be associated with making friends and feeling good.

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