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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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The effect of infantile features on ‘liking’ and                        ‘wanting’.Both men and women rated infant faces with more ‘infantile                        features’ as significantly more attractive than infant faces with less                        ‘infantile features’. Women’s overall ratings of infant                        attractiveness were significantly higher than men’s (left). There was                        a significant effect of the level of infantile features on mean viewing                        times, but this did not differ between men and women (right). Error bars                        represent mean +/− standard error. * p<0.05.
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pone-0020632-g003: The effect of infantile features on ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’.Both men and women rated infant faces with more ‘infantile features’ as significantly more attractive than infant faces with less ‘infantile features’. Women’s overall ratings of infant attractiveness were significantly higher than men’s (left). There was a significant effect of the level of infantile features on mean viewing times, but this did not differ between men and women (right). Error bars represent mean +/− standard error. * p<0.05.

Mentions: In order to further explore these differences in cuteness/attractiveness ratings to infant faces between men and women, we categorised the structure of the infant faces as high, average and low in infantile features (see Methods). We then examined the attractiveness ratings and viewing times for these three cuteness categories of infant faces by conducting a 3×2 repeated measures ANOVA with infantile features as the within-subject factor and gender as the between-subjects factor; attractiveness ratings and average viewing times were used as the outcome variables (see Figure 3).


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)

The effect of infantile features on ‘liking’ and                        ‘wanting’.Both men and women rated infant faces with more ‘infantile                        features’ as significantly more attractive than infant faces with less                        ‘infantile features’. Women’s overall ratings of infant                        attractiveness were significantly higher than men’s (left). There was                        a significant effect of the level of infantile features on mean viewing                        times, but this did not differ between men and women (right). Error bars                        represent mean +/− standard error. * p<0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0020632-g003: The effect of infantile features on ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’.Both men and women rated infant faces with more ‘infantile features’ as significantly more attractive than infant faces with less ‘infantile features’. Women’s overall ratings of infant attractiveness were significantly higher than men’s (left). There was a significant effect of the level of infantile features on mean viewing times, but this did not differ between men and women (right). Error bars represent mean +/− standard error. * p<0.05.
Mentions: In order to further explore these differences in cuteness/attractiveness ratings to infant faces between men and women, we categorised the structure of the infant faces as high, average and low in infantile features (see Methods). We then examined the attractiveness ratings and viewing times for these three cuteness categories of infant faces by conducting a 3×2 repeated measures ANOVA with infantile features as the within-subject factor and gender as the between-subjects factor; attractiveness ratings and average viewing times were used as the outcome variables (see Figure 3).

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