Search This Blog

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hot wheels: A new study suggests a link between cyclists’ looks and their performance

IT IS unfair, but true, that beautiful people are more successful than ugly ones. Data indicate that this rule applies in both business and politics—and biological theory suggests the underlying reason is that beauty is an indicator of good genes and good health. How that reason translates into success, though, is more questionable. It could be that the pretty and handsome get a helping hand from their colleagues, bosses (and, in the case of politicians, voters) which is denied to the plain and the unseemly. Or it could be that beautiful people’s underlying qualities mean they really are better, on average, at doing things.

One way to disentangle these explanations is to look at a field of endeavour which is about as close as it is possible to get to a true meritocracy: professional sport. Though favouritism here might put you in the team, it will never land you on the winner’s podium. Erik Postma, of the University of Zurich, has therefore done just that, using long-distance cycling as his example. His results, just published in Biology Letters, suggest that good looks really do reflect underlying fitness, in both the athletic and the biological senses.

Continue reading at The Economist

0 comments:

Post a Comment