Previous research has suggested that physically attractive people experience more positive life outcomes than do unattractive people. However, the importance of physical attractiveness in everyday life may vary depending on the extent to which different cultural worlds afford or require individual choice in the construction and maintenance of personal relationships. The authors hypothesized that attractiveness matters more for life outcomes in settings that promote voluntaristic-independent constructions of relationship as the product of personal choice than it does in settings that promote embedded-interdependent constructions of relationship as an environmental affordance. Study 1 examined self-reported outcomes of attractive and unattractive persons. Study 2 examined expectations about attractive and unattractive targets. Results provide support for the hypothesis along four dimensions: national context, relationship context, rural-urban context, and experimental manipulation of relationship constructions. These patterns suggest that the importance of physical attractiveness documented by psychological research is the product of particular constructions of reality.
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