Plastics and Perception
By Jordan V. Wang, MBE
It has long been known that plastic surgery can make people look younger and more beautiful - that people can feel better about themselves and improve their confidence as a result. But what effect does it really have on how others perceive them?
A recent study, published in the journal, JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, sought to answer this very question. The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not cosmetic surgery has an impact on how others perceive those who have undergone such procedures and to find out which of the subjects traits are influenced.
The first impressions we make occur as soon as we enter into a situation. How we look can produce, in the minds of others, lasting emotions and opinions about who we are. This study's research team relied on this phenomenon, called facial profiling, when they showed ‘before' and ‘after' pictures of women who had undergone aesthetic surgery to a select study group.
The procedures included in the study were facelifts, neck lifts, brow lifts, eyelid surgeries, and chin implants. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recently published data that shows that these procedures accounted for 21% of reported surgical cosmetic procedures in 2014.
The study found that after surgery, the women were not only perceived to be more attractive but also significantly more likeable. They were even believed to have better social skills based solely on their new appearance. The impressions they made were drastically different from before.
Perhaps there is more to cosmetic surgery than merely looking younger. Perhaps it can improve one's social life and interactions more than people believe. After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression.