The influence of averageness on children’s judgments of facial attractiveness Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We examined developmental changes in the influence of averageness on judgments of facial attractiveness by showing adults and children 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. In one comparison, adults and 5-year-olds rated the more average faces as more attractive whether the faces were of adult females, 5-year-old boys, or 5-year-old girls. The influence of averageness, however, was weaker in 5-year-olds than in adults. In another comparison, a new group of adults and 9-year-olds rated the more average faces as more attractive for male and female faces of adults, 9-year-olds, and 5-year-olds. The influence of averageness was again weaker for children than for adults, although the strength of 9-year-olds' preference was greater than that of 5-year-olds. Developmental changes may reflect the refinement of an average face prototype as children are exposed to more faces, increased sensitivity as visual perception develops, and/or the greater salience of attractiveness after puberty.

publication date

  • August 2013