Byline: Graham Henry
BEAUTY may be only skin deep - but it appears your race could at least give you a helping hand with the opposite sex.
Cardiff researchers claim to have uncovered a reason behind marked differences in patterns of mixed marriages - and it's all down to looks.
Differences in the facial attractiveness "ratings" of different races could account for trends which show people from certain races are more likely to marry each other.
The team - from Cardiff University's School of Psychology - examined the preferences of a group of students who were asked to rate faces of the opposite sex.
The scientists then used a mathematical formula devised from the results and found it matched statistical trends of mixed-race marriages in the UK.
Black men in the study were found to be the most attractive to females based on facial characteristics, while Asian women were perceived to be most facially attractive to men.
It could account for the reason why singer Seal first attracted Heidi Klum, or indeed why Yoko Ono first turned the head of John Lennon.
The Cardiff team is the same that was behind previous research which claimed mixed-race people were perceived to be more attractive than either black or white people.
Government data shows a marked difference in patterns of interracial marriage, with around one-and-a-half times more black men marrying white women in the UK and the US, than black women marrying white men. More white men have also been found to marry east Asian women than the opposite.
Dr Michael Lewis, who led the study, said existing explanations of interracial marriage based on racial, economic or social factors were unable to explain the asymmetries.
The study, involving 40 undergraduate students, collated ratings of attractiveness of 600 opposite-sex faces, categorised by their race - black, white and Asian.
The students, aged between 18 and 30, were taken from the same three races.
Black male faces, on average, were rated as most attractive, followed by white faces and then Asian. …