A study by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Erin Whitchurch of the University of Virginia shows that we're actually less beautiful than we think.
Participants were shown photographs of themselves, some of them digitally altered to look more or less attractive than the original portrait. They were then asked to pick out the unaltered photo and most of them grabbed an "attractively enhanced" one.
When asked to perform the same task for a stranger's face and not the participant's own, the participant accurately chose the unaltered photo.
"Most people believe that they are above average, a statistical impossibility. The above average effects, as they are called, are common," Atasoy writes. " For example, 93 per cent of drivers rate themselves as better than the median driver. Of college professors, 94 per cent say that they do above-average work."
Psychologists call this phenomenon "self-enhancement." And it's not necessarily a bad thing.
"[Self-enhancement is] a mechanism that basically ensures we feel good enough about ourselves to withstand life's everyday body blows," writes The Week's Chris Gayomali.
Atasoy explains that self-enhancement boosts confidence, something that plays a role in determining both leaders and romantic partners. (A 2009 study found that most men rate women who look confident as more attractive than those who don't exhibit confidence.) And when people believe they have admirable or desirable characteristics, they present themselves in such a way that makes others take notice and respect what they say.
You may not be more beautiful than you think, but that might actually be working in your favor.