Study: Feeling ugly makes you more likely to donate to the Occupy movement

  • Researchers had participants write about their attractiveness and ability to empathize before asking them if they'd like to donate to Occupy.
  • Those who were primed to think of themselves as unattractive were nearly twice as likely to donate to Occupy.

A new series of studies from Stanford researchers has found that people who feel “unattractive” are more likely to donate to the Occupy movement.

Professor Margaret Neale and doctoral student Peter Belmi tested perceived concepts of beauty in relation to social hierarchies. The researchers told half of the participants to write about a time when they felt physically attractive or unattractive. The remaining participants wrote about an incident in which they were sensitive or insensitive to the needs of others.

"These perceptions of their social class standing. . . influenced their views of inequality."   

The participants were then asked to rate their own attractiveness and their ability to empathize. Finally, after watching a short video about the Occupy Movement, participants were asked if they would like to donate their compensatory $50 lottery ticket to the movement.

Researchers found that those who perceived themselves to be less attractive were almost twice as likely to donate to Occupy. Those who related memories of self-confidence about their appearance viewed themselves as part of an elite social class and were less likely to donate to social inequality causes.

Peter Belmi told Campus Reform via e-mail the inspiration behind the study stemmed from people still placing a high priority on their appearance, even during economic hardships. He also added Occupy was chosen for donations because it was the most popular movement for social inequality at the time the studies were run.

“We found that cues that suggested to people that they were more attractive led them to think that they belonged to a relatively higher social class; by con- trast [sic], cues that suggested to people that they were less attractive led them to think that they belonged to a relatively lower social class,” he said. “These perceptions of their social class standing, in turn, influenced their views of inequality.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @LaurenLouClark



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Lauren Clark
Lauren Clark | Reporter at KBOI Idaho News

Lauren Clark is a Reporter at KBOI Idaho News. Prior to joining the KBOI team, Lauren was an Arizona Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform. 

20 Articles by Lauren Clark