The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Beauty week: Ugly babies are perceived as incompetent.

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflAug 3, 2010 11:00 PM
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Baby beautiful: adult attributions of infant competence as a function of infant attractiveness. "To determine at what age children first elicit differential expectations from adults as a function of their appearance, a sample of black, Caucasian, and Mexican-American adults rated photographs of a sample of black, Caucasian, and Mexican-American infants at 3 time periods in the first year of life. These adults first rated the infants on physical attractiveness and then rated the infants on 12 bipolar adjectives. The adjectives were reduced to 4 dimensions of infant behavior by factor analysis. A strong beauty-is-good stereotype was associated with 3 of the dimensions. On the measures of smart - likable baby, good baby, and causes parents problems, there was a beauty-is-good bias that prevailed across ethnic groups. In contrast, no such bias was found on the measure of active baby. The activity index was expected to reflect positive characteristics, but it appears to have implied overactivity and irritability. Strong and consistent expectations for behavior of attractive and unattractive individuals thus appear to be elicited soon after birth in Caucasian and non-Caucasian populations."

Photo: flickr/ AntToeKnee

Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Science: getting babies drunk since 1997. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Should the definition of micropenis vary according to ethnicity? Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Finally, science brings you…the baby poop predictor (with alarm)! WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

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