Elegant in its simplicity: this forced-choice binary judgment game has (probably) been played since humans first began conversing. Satirised in Chris Morris’ Brasseye, life then imitated art as the eternal reproductive question of ‘Would You?’ became a popular website in the early 2000s. I know of hotornot.com, as, during that time, my university housemates added photos of us all to the rating site. The premise is simple: people provide pictures of themselves and the great unwashed trawl through the images rating each photo in a less than constructive manner (although the site has since evolved into a dating site). I am also still bitter, since I received the lowest rating of all my housemates: a vote, for which I am confident, had the validity of a North Korean election.
Those embittered memories were recently jogged when I found a 2008 paper in Psychological Science that analysed ratings of attractiveness on the website. Now, it is well established that one’s own attractiveness influences our choice of partner (hence the accusation of ‘punching above his/her weight’ when this norm is violated); however, Lee et al. took this observation one step further. They explored whether when less attractive individuals (as rated on the website) accepted dates from other less attractive individuals, did they delude themselves into believing that the potential date was more attractive than their ‘Hot or Not’ rating? In short, is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder? The wonderfully pragmatic answer was “no”. These individuals were realistic in the attractiveness rating of their potential dates; however, whilst accepting that their date was less attractive, Lee et al. speculate that these individuals place higher weight on other characteristics (as they put it, “people divert their focus to the merits of options that are attainable”, p.676). Consequently, the good news for people rated poorly on ‘Hot or Not’ in the early 2000s, is that potential dates will look beyond mere physical attractiveness and focus on other qualities (perhaps my extensive collection of Princess Diana memorabilia …).
"In addition, the literature review is incomplete, the paper does not refer to relevant literature, misreports the findings of other studies, and uses terms and phrases that are either inaccurate or vague or uninterpretable" ...