Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 471–481 | Cite as

Adults' perceptions of infant sex and cuteness

  • Katherine A. Hildebrandt
  • Hiram E. Fitzgerald
Article

Abstract

Five experiments were conducted to investigate the relationship between infant sex and adults' perceptions of infant physical attractiveness. College students rated the cuteness and/or sex of male and female infants at each of six age levels: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 months. The results indicated that (a) subjects had little difficulty assigning a sex label to infants, although in some instances the assigned label was incorrect; (b) older infants received higher cuteness ratings than younger infants; (c) cuter infants were more likely to be perceived as female than male; (d) Labeled Males received higher cuteness ratings than Labeled Females, although this effect was stronger for Perceived Males than for Perceived Females; and (e) perceived cuteness influenced perceived sex. Results are interpreted as generally supporting the existence of a sex stereotype related to physical attractiveness.

Keywords

College Student Social Psychology Young Infant Cute Physical Attractiveness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bar-Tal, D., & Saxe, L. Physical attractiveness and its relationship to sex-role stereotyping. Sex Roles, 1976, 2, 123–133.Google Scholar
  2. Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. Physical attractiveness. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 7). New York: Academic Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  3. Clifford, M. M., & Walster, E. The effect of physical attractiveness on teacher expectations. Sociology of Education, 1973, 46, 248–258.Google Scholar
  4. Condry, J., & Condry, S. Sex differences: A study of the eye of the beholder. Child Development, 1976, 47, 812–819.Google Scholar
  5. Corter, C., Trehub, S., Boukydis, C., Ford, L., Celhoffer, L., & Minde, K. Nurses' judgments of the attractiveness of premature infants. Unpublished manuscript, University of Toronto, 1976.Google Scholar
  6. Cross, J. F., & Cross, J. Age, sex, race and the perception of facial beauty. Developmental Psychology, 1971, 5, 433–439.Google Scholar
  7. Dion, K. K. Physical attractiveness and evaluations of children's transgressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24, 207–213.Google Scholar
  8. Dion, K. K. Young children's stereotyping of facial attractiveness. Development Psychology, 1973, 9, 183–188.Google Scholar
  9. Dion, K. K. Children's physical attractiveness and sex as determinants of adult punitiveness. Developmental Psychology, 1974, 10, 772–778.Google Scholar
  10. Dion, K. K. The incentive value of physical attractiveness for young children. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1977, 3, 67–70.Google Scholar
  11. Dion, K. K., & Berscheid, E. Physical attractiveness and peer perception among children. Sociometry, 1974, 37, 1–12.Google Scholar
  12. Dion, K. K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24, 285–290.Google Scholar
  13. Hildebrandt, K. A., & Fitzgerald, H. E. Adults' responses to infants varying in perceived cuteness. Unpublished manuscript, Michigan State University, 1977. (a)Google Scholar
  14. Hildebrandt, K. A., & Fitzgerald, H. E. Facial feature determinants of perceived infant cuteness. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, May 1977. (b)Google Scholar
  15. Hildebrandt, K. A., & Fitzgerald, H. E. Gender bias in observers' perceptions of infants' sex: “It's a boy most of the time.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1977, 45, 472–474. (c)Google Scholar
  16. Lorenz, K. Die angeborenen Formen moglicher Erfahrung. Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 1943, 5, 245–409.Google Scholar
  17. Miller, A. G. Role of physical attractiveness in impression formation. Psychonomic Science, 1970, 19, 241–243.Google Scholar
  18. Rubin, J. S., Provenzano, F., & Luria, Z. The eye of the beholder: Parents' views on sex of newborns. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1974, 44, 512–519.Google Scholar
  19. Salvia, J., Sheare, J. B., & Algozzine, B. Facial attractiveness and personal-social development. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1975, 3, 171–178.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine A. Hildebrandt
    • 1
  • Hiram E. Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

Personalised recommendations