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The motivational salience of infant faces is similar for men and women.

Parsons CE, Young KS, Kumari N, Stein A, Kringelbach ML - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: It has been widely assumed that men and women respond in different ways to those features, such as a large forehead and eyes and round protruding cheeks, colloquially described as 'cute'.However, this difference was not seen in the 'wanting' task, where we measured the willingness of men and women to key-press to increase or decrease viewing duration of an infant face.Further analysis of sensitivity to cuteness, categorising infants by degree of infantile features, revealed that both men and women showed a graded significant increase in both positive attractiveness ratings and viewing times to the 'cutest' infants.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Infant facial features are thought to be powerful elicitors of caregiving behaviour. It has been widely assumed that men and women respond in different ways to those features, such as a large forehead and eyes and round protruding cheeks, colloquially described as 'cute'. We investigated experimentally potential differences using measures of both conscious appraisal ('liking') and behavioural responsivity ('wanting') to real world infant and adult faces in 71 non-parents. Overall, women gave significantly higher 'liking' ratings for infant faces (but not adult faces) compared to men. However, this difference was not seen in the 'wanting' task, where we measured the willingness of men and women to key-press to increase or decrease viewing duration of an infant face. Further analysis of sensitivity to cuteness, categorising infants by degree of infantile features, revealed that both men and women showed a graded significant increase in both positive attractiveness ratings and viewing times to the 'cutest' infants. We suggest that infant faces may have similar motivational salience to men and women, despite gender idiosyncrasies in their conscious appraisal.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

‘Liking’ and ‘wanting’ infant and adult                        faces.Women’s mean ratings of the attractiveness of infant faces were                        significantly higher than men’s mean ratings. There was no difference                        in women’s and men’s attractiveness ratings for the adult faces                        (left). Men and women’s motivational salience (measured by mean                        viewing times) did not differ significantly for infant or adult faces                        (right). Error bars represent the mean +/− standard error.
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pone-0020632-g002: ‘Liking’ and ‘wanting’ infant and adult faces.Women’s mean ratings of the attractiveness of infant faces were significantly higher than men’s mean ratings. There was no difference in women’s and men’s attractiveness ratings for the adult faces (left). Men and women’s motivational salience (measured by mean viewing times) did not differ significantly for infant or adult faces (right). Error bars represent the mean +/− standard error.

Mentions: Analyses were conducted using the viewing times and attractiveness ratings averaged across all exposures using SPSS. Figure 2 presents the viewing times and attractiveness ratings for the adult and infant images by participant gender. Viewing time and attractiveness ratings were transformed using log transformations to meet criteria for normality. For the adult faces, there were no significant differences between men and women in attractiveness ratings (t(69) = −1.88 p = 0.07). However, for the infant images, women rated the infants as significantly more attractive than did the men (t(69) = −2.027, p<0.05, d = 0.47). This significant difference in attractiveness ratings was not reflected in the viewing time data; viewing times were strikingly similar for the adult (t(69) = 0.46, p = 0.65) and infant stimuli t(69) = 0.17, p = 0.86). There were no differences between either the attractiveness ratings (t(69) = 0.58, p = 0.56) or viewing times (t(69) = 0.68, p = 0.68) across the adult and infant faces. No other within-gender differences were found across either the rating or viewing measure for the adult and infant faces.


The motivational salience of infant faces is similar for men and women.

Parsons CE, Young KS, Kumari N, Stein A, Kringelbach ML - PLoS ONE (2011)

‘Liking’ and ‘wanting’ infant and adult                        faces.Women’s mean ratings of the attractiveness of infant faces were                        significantly higher than men’s mean ratings. There was no difference                        in women’s and men’s attractiveness ratings for the adult faces                        (left). Men and women’s motivational salience (measured by mean                        viewing times) did not differ significantly for infant or adult faces                        (right). Error bars represent the mean +/− standard error.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105111&req=5

pone-0020632-g002: ‘Liking’ and ‘wanting’ infant and adult faces.Women’s mean ratings of the attractiveness of infant faces were significantly higher than men’s mean ratings. There was no difference in women’s and men’s attractiveness ratings for the adult faces (left). Men and women’s motivational salience (measured by mean viewing times) did not differ significantly for infant or adult faces (right). Error bars represent the mean +/− standard error.
Mentions: Analyses were conducted using the viewing times and attractiveness ratings averaged across all exposures using SPSS. Figure 2 presents the viewing times and attractiveness ratings for the adult and infant images by participant gender. Viewing time and attractiveness ratings were transformed using log transformations to meet criteria for normality. For the adult faces, there were no significant differences between men and women in attractiveness ratings (t(69) = −1.88 p = 0.07). However, for the infant images, women rated the infants as significantly more attractive than did the men (t(69) = −2.027, p<0.05, d = 0.47). This significant difference in attractiveness ratings was not reflected in the viewing time data; viewing times were strikingly similar for the adult (t(69) = 0.46, p = 0.65) and infant stimuli t(69) = 0.17, p = 0.86). There were no differences between either the attractiveness ratings (t(69) = 0.58, p = 0.56) or viewing times (t(69) = 0.68, p = 0.68) across the adult and infant faces. No other within-gender differences were found across either the rating or viewing measure for the adult and infant faces.

Bottom Line: It has been widely assumed that men and women respond in different ways to those features, such as a large forehead and eyes and round protruding cheeks, colloquially described as 'cute'.However, this difference was not seen in the 'wanting' task, where we measured the willingness of men and women to key-press to increase or decrease viewing duration of an infant face.Further analysis of sensitivity to cuteness, categorising infants by degree of infantile features, revealed that both men and women showed a graded significant increase in both positive attractiveness ratings and viewing times to the 'cutest' infants.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Infant facial features are thought to be powerful elicitors of caregiving behaviour. It has been widely assumed that men and women respond in different ways to those features, such as a large forehead and eyes and round protruding cheeks, colloquially described as 'cute'. We investigated experimentally potential differences using measures of both conscious appraisal ('liking') and behavioural responsivity ('wanting') to real world infant and adult faces in 71 non-parents. Overall, women gave significantly higher 'liking' ratings for infant faces (but not adult faces) compared to men. However, this difference was not seen in the 'wanting' task, where we measured the willingness of men and women to key-press to increase or decrease viewing duration of an infant face. Further analysis of sensitivity to cuteness, categorising infants by degree of infantile features, revealed that both men and women showed a graded significant increase in both positive attractiveness ratings and viewing times to the 'cutest' infants. We suggest that infant faces may have similar motivational salience to men and women, despite gender idiosyncrasies in their conscious appraisal.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus