Why You Gotta Be So Mean?
If you feel like any time you’re around small children they start to cry, you’re not alone. Not only might this make you apprehensive around kids, but you might start to wonder if something is wrong with you; do they sense something you don’t? After a while, you might stay away from small kids in general just to avoid another embarrassing scene where they burst out crying the second they see you.
Now, science might know the reason why.
As it turns out, kids can be pretty judgmental, and who can blame them? For the first few years of our lives, we’re really only used to being around mom, dad, siblings, and some immediate family and friends – or some other combination that makes up our family unit. Most children are shy before they get accustomed to being around other kids or strangers and those most familiar to us represent safety, protection, and even survival in terms of food, drink, shelter, and love.
When it comes to trusting others, children simplify the interaction down to one specific trait that will determine how they feel about you: your face.
Is beauty only skin deep?
Facing the Facts
Sight is pivotal to the human experience, and when it comes to meeting and judging others, we depend heavily on visual clues, especially when we’re younger.
Being only somewhat socialized, children are even more likely to base their opinions and trust on how somebody looks and appears as they have not yet mastered their capabilities of exploring or understanding another’s personality. That being said, most of their judgements are done at face value and, unfortunately, gaining a child’s favor or trust could come down to how ugly or attractive you are.
Suddenly I feel worse about the fact that I always make babies cry…
A new study published in Frontiers in Psychology says that children decide whether or not to trust other people based on their facial features and that they are far less likely to trust or like ugly people. Aren’t kids just the worst? As it so happens, adults do it too.
Researchers Dr. Fengling Ma, Dr. Fe Xu, and Dr. Xiaming Lu of the Zhejiang Sci-Tech and Wenzhou Medical Universities, respectively, carried out the study using 138 participants split into three groups of children (ages eight, ten, or twelve), compared to an adult control group. In the first round, the children were shown a series of 200 male faces. of which they had to rate the trustworthiness. A month later, the same children were asked to look at the same faces and rate their level of attractiveness.
The scientists found that not only were children more likely to make similar judgements about trust as age increased, but that there was also a direct relationship between attractiveness and trustworthiness. Ugly faces were considered less trustworthy, and girls were more likely to be consistent in their assessments.
So, why do we judge books by their covers?