We show that in polymorphic populations many polygenic traits pleiotropically related to fitness are expected to be under apparent "stabilizing selection" independently of the real selection acting on the population. This occurs, for example, if the genetic system is at a stable polymorphic equilibrium determined by selection and the nonadditive contributions of the loci to the trait value either are absent, or are random and independent of those to fitness. Stabilizing selection is also observed if the polygenic system is at an equilibrium determined by a balance between selection and mutation (or migration) when both additive and nonadditive contributions of the loci to the trait value are random and independent of those to fitness. We also compare different viability models that can maintain genetic variability at many loci with respect to their ability to account for the strong stabilizing selection on an additive trait. Let Vm be the genetic variance supplied by mutation (or migration) each generation, Vg be the genotypic variance maintained in the population, and n be the number of the loci influencing fitness. We demonstrate that in mutation (migration)-selection balance models the strength of apparent stabilizing selection is order Vm/Vg. In the overdominant model and in the symmetric viability model the strength of apparent stabilizing selection is approximately 1/(2n) that of total selection on the whole phenotype. We show that a selection system that involves pairwise additive by additive epistasis in maintaining variability can lead to a lower genetic load and genetic variance in fitness (approximately 1/(2n) times) than an equivalent selection system that involves overdominance. We show that, in the epistatic model, the apparent stabilizing selection on an additive trait can be as strong as the total selection on the whole phenotype.