Plastic Surgery Really Can Make You More Likable, Study Says, Though Heidi Montag Might Disagree

Heidi Montag may have been on a slightly less batshit crazy track than we'd previously thought. New research has shown that plastic surgery can make you more likable as a person, which may help explain why so many high-profile celebrities opt to have facial reconstruction. Renée Zellweger, for example, made waves last year when she showed up to a major event looking like an entirely different person. More likable? I'm not so sure, but scientists are claiming that certain alterations can change the way we're regarded as people. This wouldn't be too out of line considering the fact that previous research has shown that people who are considered more attractive are more successful, well-liked, and trusted. So, as long as it's a quality surgeon, it stands to reason that plastic surgery could enhance other people's perceptions of those qualities in us. Though this finding depressingly reveals our superficiality as a society, it's also pretty fascinating. What reason would we have at a primal level to trust and like good-looking people more than their less aesthetically pleasing counterparts?

The study was conducted by (who else?) a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael Reilly and a team at Georgetown University, who claim that the reasoning behind the findings is probably because there are certain physical characteristics we naturally associate with a more ornery, or difficult, person. These include typical signs of aging like saggy skin and wrinkles. This would, in turn, intimate that we as a race have an inherent problem with aging. Perhaps it's that when we see another person whose face shows the natural signs of aging we internalize that alongside our own desires to stay young, fresh, and fertile. Whatever the case, it seems that it's in no one's best interest to let themselves go.

In reality, we know that a person's face has no bearing on their social skills or personality. Some of the most beautiful people in the world might have the mental capacity of a thermos and yet we see them and inherently consider them superior. While this is a natural and ostensibly biological reaction, it's important that we look past that instinct. This study in no way justifies this way of thinking, it simply brings attention to it, shedding light on the biases we can keep in mind when we find ourselves falling victim to flash judgments.

Images: Danila Panfilov/Flickr