Study: Attractive female students’ grades plummeted during online learning due to loss of ‘beauty bonus’
According to a Swedish study, attractive female students saw their grades drop when classes went online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study, which was published in August in the journal Economic Letters, looked at how grades changed for attractive male and female students in a Swedish engineering program when classes were remote and when they were in person.
Attractiveness was determined by how well an independent sample of 74 people rated a student’s face.
Business and economics courses saw a positive correlation between attractiveness and academic achievement when taught in person, as students and teachers interacted more with projects, presentations, and reports.
Math and physics courses that were graded more by tests and quizzes did not see this correlation, the study found.
When these business and economics courses went online, female students saw their grades plummet, while male students still got high marks.
“The main takeaway is that there is a beauty premium for both men and women when the teaching is onsite,” Adrian Mehic, a graduate student at Sweden’s Lund University, said on Wednesday. and author of the study, to the psychological news site PsyPost. .
“But for women, this effect disappeared when education was delivered online,” Mr. Mehic continued. “This, to me at least, suggests that the handsomeness premium for men is due to a productive attribute (e.g., their higher self-confidence) rather than discrimination, whereas it is due to discrimination for women.”
Mr Mehic suggested that attractive men have other positive attributes, such as being more persistent and having a greater influence on their peers, which could explain their consistently high ratings.
He also said attractive people generally benefit from positive assumptions, such as other people thinking they’re smart, which can also influence their ratings.
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