Study Shows Some Plastic Surgery Can Make You More Likeable

Likability & Plastic Surgery

Each year, thousands of women opt to have various forms of plastic surgery performed. A recent study has revealed that, regardless of why a woman has cosmetic surgery performed, the end results thereof will result in her looking more socially adept, feminine and likeable.

More Positively Rated by Strangers

Researchers noted that women who took part in the study that had facial rejuvenation procedures such as facelifts, neck lifts and chin implants performed received more positive ratings from strangers regarding various personality traits. However, study co-author, Dr. Michael Reilly, stated that it wasn’t clear which aspects of the procedures contributed the most to these positive ratings. Reilly also mentioned that the findings would have various implications for those who study facial perception and expressions.

Making Patients Look Younger

Earlier studies saw plastic surgeons trying to determine how young or attractive patients look after having cosmetic surgery performed. A study carried out in 2012 showed that cosmetic surgery can make a person look as much as 9 years younger; another study conducted a year later found that while the surgery made candidates look a few years younger, it did not necessarily mean that they always looked and felt attractive afterwards. It was later mentioned by the study’s author and plastic surgeon, Dr. A Joshua Zimm, that the last study was flawed because of the selection process that was used to find the participants.

Further Study Findings

Another study conducted in 2014 revealed that larger eyes on a person tended to give the appearance of youthfulness. However, traits beyond overall attractiveness and youthfulness may affect how a person is perceived. Researchers had also never addressed whether or not plastic surgery could change the way someone’s personality is perceived by other people. In order to try and find answers in this regard, Reilly gathered photos of 30 Caucasian women from before and after surgery. 170 strangers were asked to rate the pictures on merits like social skills, femininity, extroversion and attraction. No respondents saw both the before and after photos of any of the women.

It came as virtually no surprise when the respondents rated the women in the ‘after’ photos as more feminine, more attractive, more likeable and younger. Zimm then stated to Live Science, “This supports what, anecdotally, most facial plastic surgeons have seen in our practices.”

Limitations of the Studies

Despite all the studies done, it wasn’t completely clear which cosmetic surgery procedures had the most impact on the positive impressions. Reilly went on to mention that, given the relatively small group of study participants, it’s also not clear how the results would translate for other demographic groups. The way in which the photos were taken, how participants were selected and how the strangers were chosen who reviewed the images could all have an effect on the final results.

In Zimm’s 2013 study, quite a few participants were eliminated because of failing to return for post-operative photos – which could have biased the results. He stated, “Very often, people who are happy with results aren’t going to make it to all their follow-up visits to take photos.” The latest findings were published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery on April 9.