Sunday, January 23, 2011

Game Theory and Beauty

Warning: Mild objectification of women is about to commence.

OkCupid has an interesting post on beauty, mathematics, and game theory. Essentially, their data suggests that, if two women are judged to have equal average attractiveness, the woman whose looks inspires the greatest amount of disagreement among men (i.e. some think she's drop-dead gorgeous, while others think she's ugly as sin) will get the most attention from men.

Their explanation for this phenomenon is that if men's subjective assessment of a woman's beauty is highly varied, the men who find her most attractive will think that they face less competition, since there is some number of men who find her unattractive. By contrast, if all men find a woman rather attractive, they might be less inclined to pursue her, thinking that they face greater competition. They sum it up with this illustration:

My apologies if any female readers were offended by this post - OkCupid promises that a similar analysis for men is forthcoming.

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