Why are mixed-race people perceived as more attractive?

Perception. 2010;39(1):136-8. doi: 10.1068/p6626.


Previous, small scale, studies have suggested that people of mixed race are perceived as being more attractive than non-mixed-race people. Here, it is suggested that the reason for this is the genetic process of heterosis or hybrid vigour (ie cross-bred offspring have greater genetic fitness than pure-bred offspring). A random sample of 1205 black, white, and mixed-race faces was collected. These faces were then rated for their perceived attractiveness. There was a small but highly significant effect, with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as more attractive. This result is seen as a perceptual demonstration of heterosis in humans-a biological process that may have implications far beyond just attractiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Beauty*
  • Black People / genetics
  • Black People / psychology*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Face*
  • Genetic Variation* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hybrid Vigor* / genetics
  • Hybridization, Genetic* / genetics
  • Judgment*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • United Kingdom
  • White People / genetics
  • White People / psychology*