The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: A novel use for babies!

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflOct 19, 2011 4:00 AM


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Infant characteristics and anger reduction. "Konrad Lorenz first suggested in 1943 that certain physical and behavioral characteristics common to infants (babyishness) serve as cues to attract adult attention and care as well as to decrease the likelihood of aggression. The present study was designed to determine whether the visual stimuli of a baby's face alone are sufficient to reduce anger. The subjects were 60 female students between 18 and 30 years of age. Anger was evoked by setting unsolvable tasks and by noise and maintained by adequate instructions and by continuing noise. Three procedures of measurement (heart rate, retrospective self-report, and interpretation of facial affect by two observers) were designed to show the reactions of the subjects viewing photos of babies and adults. We found a slight increase in heart rate to be an expression of happiness and a massive acceleration to be an expression of anger. The self-report measures and interpretation of facial affect supported the hypothesis that there is a more positive response to infants than to adults, and to cute babies also a more positive one than to less attractive infants. We found weak evidence that babyishness reduces anger. As a consequence of the length of the experiment, subjects who should not be aroused became angry. Thus, it was possible to register a reduction of anger as reaction to cute infants."

Photo: flickr/1uk3

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