Did you notice when your preschooler started to look like a ‘big boy’ or a ‘big girl’?
According to a new study, there’s a time, usually around 4 and a half, when kids start to lose their round baby face – and they’re no longer irresistibly cute.
Psychologists at the University of Toronto had 60 people rate infant and child faces on likability and attractiveness. The study found that scores started to radically change around 4 1/2.
Find out why after the jump.
It turns out that 4 1/2 is when childhood faces start to change. They lose their round baby faces, and their noses and mouths grow making them look less like babies and more like little kids.
According to the researchers, infants are designed to be cute. They have large heads, big round eyes, round faces, and smaller noses and mouths. Those are things that are considered attractive to the human species.
According to Pyschology Today, “These cues make us feel soft and protective, whether or not we’re biologically relatives — which, in evolutionary terms, increases the likelihood of a baby’s survival. (Indeed, studies have found that infants that have tiny eyes, flat foreheads, and square faces, for instance, are less likely to receive attention.) Our tendency to prefer infantile faces even extends to infant faces of other races.”
The picture at the top of the post is a side by side shot of my two boys, Zacharie at 4, Charlie at 18 months. It really demonstrates what the study found and how we determine baby cuteness.
Now Zacharie is just about 5, right in the sweet spot of this study. His insanely addictive curly hair has started to get heavy, and has become just wavy. I have noticed his chin to start point out, and he’s developing cheek bones. He’s a little man. You look in those eyes, and you can start to see the big kid inside.
It’s a good thing the study stopped with photos of kids at 6 and a half, I shudder to think how the awkward teenage puberty phases would be rated for ‘cuteness’.
Of course, if you disagree, you could always enter your kid in Babble’s Impossibly Cute Kid Contest and win $25 000 to prove me wrong.
What about you? Have you started to see the little man inside your boy?