MindHacks has an interesting review of a recent eating disorder study that purports to show that people with eating disorders tend to have a realistic view of their body image (not a negative, distorted view, as most professionals believe), while people without eating disorders tend to have an overly optimistic view of their own attractiveness.

An alternative hypothesis is not considered, however. This optimism that people have about themselves (what Mindhacks is mistakenly referring to as “attribution bias” — attribution bias is about external events, not one’s self-image) is what most people called “self-esteem.” That is, we believe in ourselves and our own capabilities, and sometimes maybe a little unreasonably so.

But is self-image significantly correlated to one’s attractiveness in the first place? Self-image is an internalized, psychological concept. Attractiveness is a physical, external (fairly cultural and time-specific) observation. For instance, do beautiful people have a more positive self-image than unattractive people? Maybe.
But maybe it’s also more complicated than it first seems.

And that’s the reason we don’t make broad generalizations based upon one or two studies.