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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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Infant preferences for attractive faces: Rudiments of a stereotype? Dev Psychol 23: 363-369

Author(s): Langlois JH, Roggman LA, Casey RJ, Ritter JM, Rieser-Danner LA, et al.

Abstract

Two studies, one with 2- to 3-month-olds and one with 6- to 8-month-olds, were conducted to examine infant preferences for attractive faces. A standard visual preference technique was used in which infants were shown pairs of color slides of the faces of adult women previously rated by other adults for attractiveness. The results showed that both the older and younger infants looked longer at attractive faces when the faces were presented in contrasting pairs of attractiveness (attractive/unattractive). When the faces were presented in pairs of similar levels of attractiveness (attractive/attractive vs. unattractive/unattractive) the older but not the younger infants looked longer at attractive faces. The results challenge the commonly held assumption that standards of attractiveness are learned through gradual exposure to the current cultural standard of beauty and are merely "in the eye of the beholder." 

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