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Infant Behav Dev. 2011 Dec;34(4):610-6. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

You must have been a beautiful baby: ratings of infant facial attractiveness fail to predict ratings of adult attractiveness.

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  • 1Psychology Program, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA 17057, USA.


Facial attractiveness has been studied extensively, but little research has examined the stability of facial attractiveness of individuals across different stages of development. We conducted a study examining the relationship between facial attractiveness in infants (age 24 months and under) and the same individuals as young adults (age 16-18 years) using infant and adult photographs from high school yearbooks. Contrary to expectations, independent raters' assessments of infant facial attractiveness did not correlate with adult facial attractiveness. These results are discussed in terms of the adaptive function of heightened attractiveness in infancy, which likely evolved to elicit and maintain parental care.

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