If you believe, from a long line of crazy ex-girlfriends, that psychos are more attractive, science says you are right. A recent study by Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube at Washington University, found that people with, let’s call them “psycho traits” — narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy — were better at using clothing, makeup and hairstyling to make themselves look more attractive. Psychopathy is characterized by varying blends of certain personality traits, which may include egocentricity, manipulativeness, superficial charm, high stress tolerance, lack of fear, lack of empathy and lack of guilt or remorse.
The study used 111 college students, and evaluated their attractiveness in both everyday attire and in a plain state, after washing off any makeup and changing into a t-shirt and sweatpants. The subjects took personality tests, and gave peer references to confirm personality traits. Their self-assessment and peer-assessments were combined. A separate group rated both sets of pictures. Those exhibiting the psycho traits were typically rated more attractive in their everyday attire than those who scored low for the psycho traits. But the plain state pictures showed no difference or correlation for attractiveness and the psycho traits. Julie Beck of PopSci summed it up nicely, “mean people are just as ugly as the rest of us, they’re just better at fooling everyone into thinking they’re hot.”