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Bad news for those with unfortunate appearances — not only do you have to face yourself in the mirror every day, you’re also more likely to be convicted of a crime, and to spend more time in jail, where hopefully you’ll be able to attend to some personal grooming. Because the world is a harsh, looks-ist place.
A new Cornell University study has found that “unattractive” defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted, and end up with sentences that are, on average, 22 months longer in prison than their hotter criminal counterparts.
Of course, people have known for a long time that juries (and those outside of juries) bias in favor of the good-looking. But why was unknown, until a couple of Cornell scientists identified two distinct types of jurors: “Those who process information emotionally and give harsher verdicts to unattractive defendants and those who do it rationally and focus less on defendants’ looks” (i.e., good jurors and bad jurors).
The bad jurors tended to believe that less-attractive defendants were just the “type of person” who would commit a crime. Also, since pretty people get away with everything, they should also get away with murder.