Men who scored higher on measures of attractiveness were also more selfish and less favorable of equality.
Lead investigator Dr. Michael Price and his team publish their findings in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
This is not the first time a study has investigated the psychological effects of people's attractiveness. In December 2014, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting people with average-looking faces appear more trustworthy, while research from September 2013 found men with wide faces may trigger selfishness in others.
In this latest study, the team set out to see how attractiveness influences individual's attitudes and behavior toward inequality and selfishness.
The investigators say the research was inspired by a previous theory suggesting that when it comes to competitions for social status, people who are attractive tend to reign, meaning they have more to gain by bolstering social inequality.
To reach their findings, the team measured the bodies of 63 men and 62 women using a 3D body scanner.
The participants were given attractiveness scores based on their body measurements - including waist-to-chest ratio for men, waist-to-hip ratio for women and slimness.
Participants also completed a personality questionnaire, from which the researchers obtained information on their attitudes and behavior toward selfishness and inequality. As an extra measure, the subjects took part in an experiment, in which they were given money and asked to decide how much they wanted to share with another individual.
The perception of selfishness in attractive men 'may be justified'
From this, the researchers found that men with higher scores on attractiveness were more selfish and less egalitarian than men with lower attractiveness scores. Women with higher attractiveness scores, however, were just as generous and egalitarian than those with lower scores.
Next, the team asked a group of "raters" to look at the body scans of all participants and judge them on attractiveness. Another group of raters was asked to judge how egalitarian and selfless the individuals were likely to be in reality.
The researchers found that the raters thought more attractive men and women would be more selfish and less favorable toward inequality. Dr. Price comments:
"Our results showed that in fact we may be justified in expecting more attractive men to behave in ways that are less favorable to economic and social equality."
He adds that many studies have suggested that wealthier individuals tend to be more selfish, but that these latest findings shed new light, suggesting "attractiveness is at least as important as wealth in influencing these attitudes."
Dr. Price notes, however, that the correlation between attractiveness and selfishness was "nowhere close to being perfect," noting that many attractive men will possess generous traits.
Last month, MNT reported on a study claiming men who regularly post pictures on social media sites are likely to score higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy.