The influence of averageness on judgments of facial attractiveness: No own-age or own-sex advantage among children attending single-sex schools
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We examined how recent biased face experience affects the influence of averageness on judgments of facial attractiveness among 8- and 9-year-old children attending a girls' school, a boys' school, and a mixed-sex school. We presented pairs of individual faces in which one face was transformed 50% toward its group average, whereas the other face was transformed 50% away from that average. Across blocks, the faces varied in age (adult, 9-year-old, or 5-year-old) and sex (male or female). We expected that averageness might influence attractiveness judgments more strongly for same-age faces and, for children attending single-sex schools, same-sex faces of that age because their prototype(s) should be best tuned to the faces they see most frequently. Averageness influenced children's judgments of attractiveness, but the strength of the influence was not modulated by the age of the face, nor did the effects of sex of face differ across schools. Recent biased experience might not have affected the results because of similarities between the average faces of different ages and sexes and/or because a minimum level of experience with a particular group of faces may be adequate for the formation of a veridical prototype and its influence on judgments of attractiveness. The results suggest that averageness affects children's judgments of the attractiveness of the faces they encounter in everyday life regardless of age or sex of face.
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