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Do babies like prettier people?

In the world of psychology, researchers often dive into fascinating experiments to unravel the mysteries of human behavior. One such experiment conducted decades ago involved studying the preferences of newborns and young infants. Surprisingly, it was discovered that these tiny individuals showed a distinct inclination towards attractive faces. Yes, you read that right, babies seem to prefer prettier people! In this blog post, we will explore the details of this intriguing experiment, discuss the findings, and delve into the possible explanations behind this phenomenon.

A. Background information on the topic

From the moment babies are born, they are exposed to a wide range of stimuli. Their sensory systems are rapidly developing, allowing them to absorb and process information from their environment. One critical aspect of their development is their ability to recognize and respond to human faces, providing the foundation for social interaction and bonding.

B. Explanation of the experiment conducted on newborns and infants

To investigate infants’ preference for attractive faces, a study was conducted using images carefully selected by adults. The researchers presented newborns and young infants with pictures of faces deemed attractive and faces considered less attractive. By observing the infants’ gaze and measuring the amount of time they spent looking at each image, the researchers could determine their preferences.

Overview of the Experiment

A. Description of the study design

The experiment involved presenting infants with a series of images displayed on a screen or presented in print format. These images were selected based on ratings of attractiveness provided by adult participants. The researchers ensured that the chosen faces varied widely in terms of attractiveness. By employing this design, they aimed to measure infants’ visual preferences explicitly for attractive faces compared to less attractive ones.

B. Explanation of the face images used in the experiment

The faces used in the study were carefully selected to represent a wide range of attractiveness. Adult participants were asked to rate a collection of faces on a scale of attractiveness. Based on these ratings, the researchers divided the faces into two groups: attractive and less attractive. They then presented these images to the infants during the experiment to assess their preferences.

Findings of the Experiment

A. Discussion of the infants’ preference for attractive faces

The results of the experiment revealed a consistent pattern: infants spent more time looking at the images of faces that adults considered attractive. This finding indicates that from a very early age, infants show a clear preference for attractive faces.

B. Presentation of data on the amount of time infants spent looking at attractive faces compared to less attractive faces

The data collected during the experiment provided compelling evidence for the infants’ preference for attractive faces. On average, infants spent a significantly longer time fixating on the images of attractive faces compared to less attractive faces. This behavior suggests an inherent attraction or interest towards beauty in infants.

Possible Explanations

A. Introduction of theories and hypotheses regarding infants’ preference for attractive faces

The observed preference of infants for attractive faces has sparked various theories and hypotheses among researchers. One such explanation is rooted in evolutionary psychology, which argues that infants are naturally drawn to attractive faces as they are more likely to be healthy and genetically fit.

B. Discussion of evolutionary theories and the role of visual attraction in human interactions

Evolutionary theories propose that attractiveness serves as a signaling mechanism in human interactions. In the context of infants, being attracted to attractive faces may be a survival instinct, ensuring that they receive care, attention, and nourishment from their caregivers.

Significance of the Experiment

A. Implications for understanding infant development and cognition

The experiment’s findings shed light on the intricate processes of infant development and cognition. The fact that infants show a preference for attractive faces suggests an early understanding of visual stimuli and an innate ability to evaluate attractiveness.

B. Examination of the potential influence of attractiveness on social interaction and bonding from a young age

Attractiveness plays a significant role in social interaction and bonding throughout our lives. The experiment’s results suggest that the preference for attractiveness starts at an incredibly young age, highlighting the potential significance of beauty in early social interactions and the formation of bonds with caregivers.

Critiques and Limitations of the Experiment

A. Discussion of possible flaws in the study design

Like any scientific study, this experiment is not without limitations. One critique could be that the concept of attractiveness is subjective and may vary across different cultures and individuals. The reliance on adult participants’ ratings of attractiveness could introduce bias into the selection of faces used in the experiment.

B. Consideration of alternative explanations for the observed preferences

While the findings of the experiment suggest a preference for attractive faces, it’s essential to consider alternative explanations. Factors such as familiarity, novelty, or other visual characteristics could influence infants’ gaze patterns and their time spent looking at different faces.

Future Research and Possible Applications

A. Suggestion for further studies to explore the topic in more depth

To build upon the current findings, future studies could focus on investigating the underlying mechanisms and developmental changes in infants’ preferences for attractive faces. Longitudinal studies could provide valuable insights into how these preferences evolve over time.

B. Potential application of the findings in fields such as childcare and education

The knowledge gained from this experiment could have practical implications in various fields, including childcare and education. Understanding infants’ preferences for attractive faces could help in designing engaging and visually appealing materials to promote their cognitive and emotional development.


In conclusion, the experiment revealing babies’ preference for attractive faces offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of infant development. The findings suggest that from an early age, infants exhibit a distinct inclination towards beauty. While there are limitations to the study and alternative explanations to consider, this experiment brings us closer to understanding the role of attractiveness in our lives, even from the very beginning.


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