Realization that appearance plays an important role in social judgments inevitably affects the self concept. If a person feels that his appearance is such that he will be judge positively, it will have a favorable effect on his personality. Few people, however, feel so. Most feel that their total appearance or some feature that mars their attractiveness is responsible for their not being as popular as they otherwise would be.
The more a person varies from the norm in physical attractiveness, the more he also varies in satisfaction and, thus, in the favorableness of his self-concept. Studies of the effect of acne illustrate how severely one unattractive feature can affect the self concept. College students with acne score significantly higher on a neuroticism scale than those who are free from his skin blemish. Those of higher neuroticism also tend to develop acne at an earlier age.
One study has shown that an unattractive appearance may lead to deviant behavior. Not only are criminals judged to be below the norm in personal attractiveness, but the seriousness of their crimes is positively related to the degree of their unattractiveness. Burglars, for example, who engage in “behind-the-back” stealing, are contact-shy because of their unattractiveness.
Differences in attractiveness have also been found in criminals who commit sex crimes. Those who engage in illicit sexual relationship with adults are more attractive than those who victimize children.
While physical unattractiveness does not, of course, necessarily lead to delinquent or criminal behavior, many unattractive people who are unable to improve their appearance enough to be reasonably acceptant of it do develop unfavorable self concepts and unsocial pattern of behavior. Whether these will lead to withdrawal or aggression will depend upon their environments, the pattern of their lives, the kinds of relationships they have with family members, and a host of other conditions. For example, a child who has been criticized by his parents and nagged to improve his looks, and who interprets all this to mean that his parents reject him, often becomes hypersensitive about his appearance
At no time will an unfavorable self-concept be more damaging than in old age when physical attractiveness normally wanes and when other condition such as forced retirement, loss of community roles, and lowered income, intensify the belief of the person that he is being rejected because of his unattractiveness,. Unquestionably, part of the personality change that so often accompanies aging can be traced to this.
“Homeostasis” is the maintenance of a stable internal environment through a relatively steady temperature, a normal blood sugar level, an even rate of oxygen utilization, and a proper water balance. When any one of these conditions is upset, disturbances in homeostasis occur.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT EFFECTS
Homeostasis or lack of it has a pronounced effect, both directly and indirectly, on personality. Any alteration n the physiological state of a person will be reflected to the behavioral changes which maybe temporary or persistent, slight or major, depending on how great and how permanent the physiological changes are.
The direct effects of homeostasis are seen in the relaxed, poised, controlled, and socially acceptable behavior pattern of a person who is feeling well both physical and physiologically. Upsets in homeostasis are readily apparent in irritability following fatigue the temporary inability of a person to react normally after using alcohol and some of the narcotics.
Indirectly, homeostasis or lack of it may affect the personality through the way the person reacts to what he believes to be the attitudes and behavior of significant people in his life or to how close his body comes to his childhood ideal.