Beauty and social capital: being attractive shapes social networks

O'Connor, K M and Gladstone, E (2018) Beauty and social capital: being attractive shapes social networks. Social Networks, 52. pp. 42-47. ISSN 0378-8733

Abstract

It is a fact of life that being beautiful is advantageous (Hamermesh, 2011). Whether we consider incomes or the marriage market, the more attractive one is, the better one does. Drawing on psychological research that explains why beauty pays, we hypothesize that more attractive people will exploit social network opportunities differently than less attractive people and, consequently, their networks will comprise more beneficial features. As predicted, results of an experiment showed that more attractive people were more likely to select for themselves more profitable broker positions in networks relative to other positions and relative to less attractive people. Relying on network data supplied by young professionals, in a follow-up study we found that the networks of more attractive people were relatively less dense, as the findings of Study 1 would imply. We discuss the implications for our work as well as highlight the need for further research into an understudied, but potentially influential brokerage contingency factor—physical appeal.

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Item Type: Article
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© 2017 Elsevier

Subjects: S > Social roles
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2019 13:08
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2020 11:29
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/1288
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