You may think having cosmetic surgery on your face is about making your appearance better but new research says it could also make people like you more. A piece of American research, the first of its kind ever undertaken, claims to have discovered that facial procedures can make you more likeable, appear more feminine and be more attractive to other people. It also claims that people who have particular procedures are seen as having more social skills and being more trustworthy.
The study compared perceptions after a woman had a face lift, a brow lift, a neck lift, upper eye lifts, lower eye lifts or a chin implant – or more than one of these procedures. According to the findings, published on the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery website, the change in perceptions noticed are down to human evolution. Past studies have suggested that judging someone as a result of their appearance is part of the human survival instinct. Speaking of the latest study, Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Professor Michael Reilly said that people look at other’s neutral expressions and decide on their personality traits. This helps people to follow their animal instinct and avoid individuals believe to be ‘ill-willed’.
The new research involved portraits being taken before 30 white women underwent cosmetic surgery and then again afterwards. The responses of 170 people who viewed the portraits were then studied. For each picture viewed, participants had to rate how attractive they thought the woman was and how feminine she was, along with rating personality traits including likeability, extroversion, social skills, trustworthiness, aggressiveness and risk-seeking behaviour. None of the participants knew if the women had undergone cosmetic surgery but there followed a score improvement for femininity, attractiveness, likeability and social skills. There was also a noticeable trend towards trustworthiness.
Professor Reilly explained that the best scores followed lower eye lifts, which are a popular way of reducing wrinkling and removing bags. They can also sometimes change the appearance of down-turned eyes to create a more happy and upbeat appearance. Face lifts were responsible for the next best ratings. The apparent scoring success of these two procedures could add further credence to a previous psychological study that found that many people will look at eyes to judge trustworthiness and attractiveness. Professor Reilly said that it was possible that this explained why participants gave significantly better femininity and attractiveness scores for the women who underwent a lower eyelift and an improved score for trustworthiness.
Professor Reilly said that this research highlighted the importance of thinking about not just the physical effect but also the potential change to how people perceive you if you are planning to have cosmetic surgery. He explained that further studies would lead to the gaining of yet more specific knowledge about this sort of change in perceptions, giving patients more information to make their cosmetic surgery decisions and maybe even assisting practitioners in delivering even better outcomes based on their clients’ requirements.