LANGLOIS ~ INFANT FACIAL ATTRACTIVENESS

RELEVANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
- Pictures used in the study (white women, white men, black women, and babies) were selected from a database.
- Pictures were judged either attractive or non-attractive. Faces were rated on a 1-5 Likert style scale by 40 undergrad male and female students.

AIMS:
- One aim of the study was to test the nature versus nurture debate on infant development.
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PARTICIPANTS:
- Infants were from the UT nursery. All infants were from mid-upper social class; nearly all white; from the same nursery.
- There were 60 babies in the study; there was nearly a 35-25 split between male and female.
- Infants were an average age of 6 months and 6 days. All infants were tested within 3 weeks of their 6 month birthday.
- Babies were excluded from the study if they were not healthy, and full-term babies. One child was excluded from the study because she was born premature; a few others were excluded because they were fussy.

PROCEDURE:
- Babies were seated on their mother's lap; mother was blindfolded.
- Babies were approximately 35 cm from the screen.
- Independent observers measured interest by where baby gazed. Observers could not see the pictures that appeared on screen.
- Babies attention was brought to the screen by a light and a buzzing sound; then two faces in color appeared side by side; one attractive, one non-attractive.
- Each trial lasted 10 seconds.
- The faces were presented in a right-left position, then a left-right position to prevent infant side preference.
- Slides were always paired within sex; so a baby was never going to look at a male and a female on the same slide.
- The babies rested between trials; after 8 trials they were given a 5-10 minute break to ensure they were not becoming fatigued.

DATA COLLECTION:
- Quantitative: results were coded by observers.
- Qualitative: mothers were rated upon their attractiveness to see if there was a bias; did baby gaze at people who looked like their mother?

RESULTS:
- Babies gazed at attractive faces longer than unattractive faces.
- Mother's attractiveness did not matter.


CONCLUSIONS:
- Study supports nature side of debate.
- Langlois said that the results of the study allow us to infer that there is a prototypical face hardwired into our psyche before we have a chance to en culture ourselves into society.

STRENGTHS:
- High level of control.
- Large sample with a good gender split.
- Kept on parent's lap so the baby would stay comfortable.
- Picky about the participant group; eliminated fussy, and or premature babies.

WEAKNESSES:
- Unnatural activity for baby.

ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY:
- Low; lab study
- Babies can't communicate their exact feelings about what they see; although this is why they used the gazing method.