Why are mixed-race people perceived as more attractive?

Why are mixed-race people perceived as more attractive?

Volume 39, Issue 1 (2010)
pages 136-138
ISSN: 0301-0066 (print), 1468-4233 (electronic)

Michael B. Lewis, Senior Lecturer of Psychology
Cardiff University

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.

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