Attractiveness as a Learned or Intrinsic Attribute

Everyone differs slightly in what they consider attractive or beautiful. Do you believe certain attributes are universally attractive? What are these attributes?

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I thought about this question for most of the day. Every time I thought about a certain attribute I was able to envision someone who might find that attribute attractive. For instance, my prime candidate for an attribute that is universally attractive would be someone who is healthy. Whether that be healthy emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually; I thought that someone who was healthy would be universally attractive. Then I started thinking about other people who are not healthy themselves. They would not want to be with someone who was healthy. They would be attracted to someone who had the same problems and issues as themselves. For example, someone who was a health freak would probably not be attracted to someone who ate greasy food every night.

Do you believe one’s sense of beauty is intrinsic or learned?

I think that one’s sense of beauty is learned, but not necessarily exclusively influenced by outside examples. For instance, a parent can communicate to a child that they are not beautiful. Now for some time, that child might think that they are not beautiful, but eventually, as the child grows up they will have to choose as to whether they still believe the parent’s interpretation. Therefore beauty is learned but intrinsically interpreted through our choices.

What influence do the media and one’s peers have on the concept of beauty? What other factors influence the perception of attraction?

Well just like I was saying in the last question, the media and peers might have an impact on our understanding of beauty, but we have the choice as to whether we will abide by that standard. Another factor that might influence our perception of attraction is our religion. There are many religions on the planet. Some teach that we are inherently evil and must struggle to be good. Some espouse that we are inherently good and sometimes commit evil acts. These belief structures can have a huge impact on our self-identity and hence our opinion of beauty.

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Nevid, J.S., Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium. Danvers, M.A.: Wiley.

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