Do I get better looking each day? Changes in self-perceptions of attractiveness as a function of temporal perspective

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Abstract

Do people perceive themselves as becoming more attractive across time? The present studies investigated whether individuals (a) judge their previous self as physically less attractive than their current self and (b) judge their future self to be physically more attractive than their current self. The studies also investigated when temporal biasing of attractiveness is most likely to occur. In Study 1, students rated their present and past attractiveness. The results revealed that participants' ratings of past attractiveness were lower than current ratings, but only among individuals for whom attractiveness was important to their self-concept. In Study 2, participants rated their present attractiveness and their expected attractiveness in 5 years. The results revealed that ratings of future attractiveness were higher than current ratings, but only among individuals who frequently engage in social comparisons. The implications of the results are discussed with respect to self-appraisals of attractiveness and psychological well-being. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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