A recent study showed that people who get a facelift don’t just look more attractive–they’re considered more likable, too. This isn’t a surprise. It’s something we’ve known in cosmetic dentistry for years: improving your smile affects the way others perceive your personality, too.
Facial Plastic Surgery, an imprint of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published this research. The results were based on ratings for 60 images–the before-and-after images of 30 white female patients–which were broken into six groups of 10 images each. The groups included 5 before and 5 after surgery pictures, but no group included a before and after image of the same person. These 30 patients had undergone many different facial rejuvenation procedures, such as:
The six groups were rated by a minimum of 24 raters who considered attractiveness and femininity as well as six personality traits: social skills, risk-taking, trustworthiness, likeability, extroversion, and aggressiveness. Notably, perceived age was not included, so we can’ see whether these “facial rejuvenation” procedures actually made people look younger.
Femininity ratings improved most for these women, followed by social skills, likeability, and attractiveness. The authors claim that theirs is the first study showing that facial plastic surgery could change personality judgments.
This may be a new discovery for facial surgery, but it’s old news in cosmetic dentistry. Several years ago, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) conducted a similar study using before and after images of 8 cosmetic dentistry patients. The before and after images were scrambled into two groups of 8 images, none of which contained a before and after image of the same individual. These groups were shown to 528 raters, who were asked to make snap judgments about the personality of the individual in the picture in terms of 8 different traits. They were asked to judge whether the person was attractive, happy, intelligent, successful in their career, sensitive to other people, popular with the opposite sex, wealthy, kind, interesting, and friendly. The study showed that, in every single category, there was a statistically significant improvement after cosmetic dentistry, although the largest gains were for:
The truth is that although cosmetic dentistry affects only your appearance, it still has an impact on how others perceive your personality.
If you are hoping for an appearance boost that improves the way others think of you, cosmetic dentistry maybe your best option.