I just came across an interesting article in Slate contending that we often perceive handsome men to be jerks because examples of jerky handsome men come more easily to mind than examples of jerky plain men. In the case of single women, the “acceptable” men that they consider entering into relationships with tend to be better than average looking, meaning that the majority of jerks they encounter are good looking. That’s represented in the illustration that accompanied the Slate article:
I don’t know that there’s any actual evidence to back this up, but it is a plausible idea. And as someone trained in behavioral economics, it conjures two famous ideas of Kahneman and Tversky – of the availability heuristic, which causes us to over represent the likelihood of things that come more easily to mind, and the representativeness heuristic, which causes us to overstate the probability of attributes that fit together when we think they should.
Everywhere you look – behavioral economics and decision psychology!