“A person's physical attractiveness -- the look that they're basically born with -- impacts every individual literally from birth to death,” says Dr. Gordon Patzer, dean of the College of Business Administration at Roosevelt University. He's spent 30 years studying and writing about physical attractiveness. “People are valued more who are higher in physical attractiveness. As distasteful at that might be, that's the reality.”
When model Allison drops her file, there seems to be a sudden change in the weather. Is it raining men? A man even uses his cane to stop the pages from flying away.
“It was just amazing how people would flock to me to clean it up,” says Allison. “I have dropped my purse and wallet and people always help me pick it up. But I never really thought about if somebody else dropped their wallet, maybe they wouldn't help them. It just seems strange to me.”
NBC staffer Loren is about to be that someone else. She drops the papers and people step by, rather than stop. About a dozen people pass by before, finally, a woman offers help.
But that's nothing compared to our other NBC colleague, Anthony. When he drops the folder, the sidewalk literally clears. Even as he spreads out the papers he's supposedly collecting, people just walk on by.
“I thought, hey I’m dressed in a shirt and a tie,” says Anthony. “I looked pretty professional, so maybe someone may stop and help me out. And people just kept stepping over.”
“For example, in a nursery, before newborn babies are released from a hospital, those babies who are higher in physical attractiveness, at this level defined as more cute , are touched more, held more and spoken to more,” says Dr. Patzer, who notes the trend continues in school. “You see that those teachers when they interact with children of higher physical attractiveness, they ask more questions, they prompt them for more answers. We expect those children to do better and consequently they fulfill our expectations and they actually do do better.”