Page last updated at 06:12 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 07:12 UK

Mixed race people are 'more attractive' and successful

Halle Berry with her Oscar for Monster's Ball
Halle Berry won an Oscar for her performance in Monster's Ball in 2002

Mixed-race people are 'more attractive' and more successful, results of a new study suggest.

The Cardiff University study involved rating 1,205 black, white, and mixed-race faces.

Each face was judged on its attractiveness, with mixed-race faces generally perceived as more attractive.

Author of the study, Dr Michael Lewis, also suggested mixed-race people were disproportionately successful in many professions.

The study based its hypothesis on Darwin's notion of heterosis, the biological phenomenon that predicts that cross-breeding leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents.

Dr Lewis said the phenomenon was mirrored in the results of his study.

"The results appear to confirm that people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive," Dr Lewis said.

Yet there is reason to believe that mixed-race people may not just be more attractive, but more successful.

Dr Lewis said: "There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the impact of heterosis goes beyond just attractiveness.

"This comes from the observation that, although mixed-race people make up a small proportion of the population, they are over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions like acting with Halle Berry, Formula 1 racing with Lewis Hamilton - and, of course, politics with Barack Obama."

Dr Lewis will present his findings to the British Psychological Society's annual meeting on Wednesday.



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