Despite the popular phrase “a face only a mother could love” (see also: the warthog, Jocelyn Wildenstein), a new study has shown that we chicks may not be so accepting of not-so-pretty mugs, after all.
The Harvard-affiliated study included 13 men and 14 women who were shown photos of 80 infants, including 50 “normal” ones and 30 with “abnormal” facial features, and asked to score them on attractiveness.
The men’s attractiveness ratings for “normal” babies were apparently much lower than those given by women, whereas women and men gave “abnormal” faces similar unattractive ratings. However, women made a greater effort to avoid looking at the less attractive faces. No word on whether that means they merely blinked or screamed, “GET THAT BABY OUT OF MY FACE!” Could be either one, really.
The findings might reflect an evolutionary-based need to provide limited resources only to healthy offspring, suggest the researchers.
“Women may be more sensitized to aesthetic defects and may be more prone to reject unattractive kids. Men do not appear to be as motivated. They didn’t expend the same effort,” said study first author Rinah Yamamoto.
That’s probably because they expend that effort judging potential female partners’ racks instead.