Unfortunately, there has always been at least some stigma attached to the practice of plastic surgery, though attitudes toward the industry have improved somewhat over the years, as demand and acceptance for cosmetic procedures have grown. Growing acceptance, however, does not lead to full societal trust of cosmetic enhancement. But the effects of plastic surgery may be more than skin deep, it seems. Researchers have recently taken the opportunity to see how plastic surgery affects perceptions of peoples’ personalities at first glance—and the results are surprising.
Dr. Mike Reilly, the lead author of the study, worked with other researchers at Georgetown University in an analysis of how facial rejuvenation surgery affects the perceptions of others on factors like aggression, extroversion, likeability, and trustworthiness. This is one of the first studies to examine how plastic surgery affects first impressions and assumptions about personality traits. Researchers focused on surgeries that are common for facial rejuvenation and affect the patient’s resting facial expression. 30 participants (all Caucasian women) were photographed before and after their surgeries, and these sets of photos were used to create six online surveys, none of which contained both the before and after photos of any one woman simultaneously. The surveys were answered by 170 people, who rated on a seven point scale how much they agreed that the women pictured possessed certain traits.
Researchers focused on surgeries that affect the resting facial expressions, because that is one of the ways we make judgements about people. The findings of the study showed that “after” photos tended to elicit more positive answers in terms of traits such as trustworthiness and likeability. In addition to making the participants look younger, it seems that the surgery also affected people’s initial impressions. The procedures that induced the most dramatic findings were the lower eyelid lift and facelift. It is thought that these surgeries emphasized a happier and more feminine appearance in the women, and therefore prompted more positive responses. Reilly describes some of his thoughts on these findings:
“I don’t think of plastic surgery as deceptive, but the idea of altering your appearance then seeming more trustworthy is interesting… When your eyes are more open, [you appear] more trustworthy— your parents, like mine, probably told you if you’re making eye contact, you’re not lying.”
These results are only from a very small study, but they are encouraging for prospective patients who wonder how they will be perceived by others following an anti-aging procedure.
Improved Confidence and Self-Esteem
Regardless of how plastic surgery affects the way people perceive someone after the operation, the results of the procedure can have immense psychological benefits for the patients. For those who enjoy excellent results from surgery, there is typically a large boost in the self-esteem that goes follows. Patients who are happiest with their results maintain realistic expectations throughout the process and practice diligent aftercare.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon
If you are interested in pursuing any type of plastic surgery, then you will want to be sure you are setting yourself up for success. The best way to do that is to find a qualified plastic or facial plastic surgeon to help you plan your surgery and give you the results you’re looking for. You don’t necessarily need to know the exact procedure you want to pursue since an experienced, board-certified surgeon will evaluate you, your needs, and your candidacy, and help you find the perfect treatment plan for you.
If you would like to speak with an expert in the Dearborn or Birmingham, Michigan, areas, come to Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery and meet with our highly trained and experienced team of doctors. We offer a wide range of face and body procedures to help you look and feel great. To schedule your free consultation, call 866-487-3223 today.