This strikes me as complete and utter bull****.  Excuse me, bologna is more appropriate for this forum.  I just don’t see how you can conduct a scientific study based on personal opinion.  Perceived attractiveness is not a science.  I have a theory that mixed race people have an interesting look, for lack of a better way to put it.  Since we are still a relatively small group, I think there’s something in a mixed race face that may make one take note.  A gaze may linger while a mind tries to process and perhaps dissect what it’s looking at.  And that probably prompts the occasional, “What are you?”  In my opinion, that does not equal more attractive, but I see how it could be misconstrued that way.

I also object to the antiquated notion of heterosis being used in this way- heck, in any way.  Cross-breeding!?  This leads me to believe that Dr. Lewis looks at race as more than a social construct.  I seriously disagree.

Lastly, the notion that because Halle Berry, Lewis Hamilton, and Barack Obama have risen to the top of their respective fields we are to infer that mixed race people are more successful on average makes my skin crawl.  More successful than whom?  Their black counterparts?  That must be what it means because I don’t think anyone can so easily forget the 40+ white presidents, 70+ white actresses, and I don’t know exactly how many (but most likely all) of the former Formula 1 champions that preceded these super-attractive, super-successful mulattoes.  UGH!  So glad I chose not to spend a semester at Cardiff!

Mixed-race people are ‘more attractive’ and more successful, results of a new study suggest.

The Cardiff University study involved rating 1,205 black, white, and mixed-race faces.

Each face was judged on its attractiveness, with mixed-race faces generally perceived as more attractive.

Author of the study, Dr Michael Lewis, also suggested mixed-race people were disproportionately successful in many professions.

The study based its hypothesis on Darwin’s notion of heterosis, the biological phenomenon that predicts that cross-breeding leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents.

Dr Lewis said the phenomenon was mirrored in the results of his study.

“The results appear to confirm that people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive,” Dr Lewis said.

Yet there is reason to believe that mixed-race people may not just be more attractive, but more successful.

Dr Lewis said: “There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the impact of heterosis goes beyond just attractiveness.

“This comes from the observation that, although mixed-race people make up a small proportion of the population, they are over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions like acting with Halle Berry, Formula 1 racing with Lewis Hamilton – and, of course, politics with Barack Obama.”

Dr Lewis will present his findings to the British Psychological Society’s annual meeting on Wednesday.


6 thoughts on “heterosis

  1. I feel that beauty comes in every race, and that one group of people should never be pointed out as more attractive than others, so I don’t agree with this “study”. To me, this just reinforces the notion amongst black people that bi-racial people are prettier, more desirable, and more successful than their black counterparts. And being a black teenager, I hear some of my black peers saying that they want to be lighter or be mixed with something, so this “study” is disheartening.

  2. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder…

    Beauty comes in every shade. There is always are going to be unsuccessful and unattractive people in all races and cultures.


  3. I think the study reinforces the notion of so-called “lightskin privilege”. The meme of blonde hair, blue eyes, narrow features as beautiful is something that is constantly represented in magazines, tv, movies, etc. So IMHO, it could be that mixed race people more closely approximate the ethnic majority’s notions of what it means to be beautiful, attractive, successful, and thus they stand out from the rest of the population.

    Perhaps not in Nigeria or Ghana, but in America light skin, long hair, light eyes is meaningful to the ethnic majority, even if it’s simply a level of comfort or familiarity. This is reflected in our choice for “first black president” or “first black president of yada yada college” or “first black bishop”

    However, those notable, memorable firsts seemed to have taken their responsibility seriously and paved the way for the rest of us ie frederick douglass, homer plessy, etc.

    it is, what it is…

  4. Dr Lewis is not just saying that mixed race people on average are perceived to be more an attractive than black people but also whites. The explanation being that of heterosis or hybrid vigour. There have been similar observations from many other scientist. Other observations include less likelihood of suffering from illnesses due to genetic disorders common in areas with consanguinous marriages. In short to improve on your progeny marry someone who is genetically dissimilar to you not necessarily of different race.

  5. Pingback: heterosis (via mulatto diaries) « se7enwoo

  6. Contrary to what you think, there are many social theories that include perceptions as constructs; for instance, perceived barriers (Transtheoretical model-TTM) or perceived behavior control (Theory of planned behavior. So, perception and opinion have been operationalized in many research studies (SCIENTIFIC research studies). A scale is usually used when measuring these operationalized constructs. I don’t know if Dr. Lewis used an scale though. Anyway, this would not discredit his contribution to the scientific knowledge, nor the validity of his research study. As far as the sample, I wish I could have more information about what were the demographic characteristics of those respondents in this study, plus I wish I could have seen the pictures he used. That can definitely add a lot of bias.

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