Kids Are So Cute ... Until Age 4.5

Adorable 'facial cues' fade at that age: researchers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2012 2:35 PM CDT
Kids Are So Cute ... Until Age 4.5
Age 5 ... past cuteness prime?   (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

(Newser) – No one's saying that 5-year-olds can't be adorable—but it appears that they're past their prime, in cuteness terms. Researchers in Canada and China polled adults on the cuteness factor of kids from infancy to 6 years old. Subjects called the younger children cuter, with a big shift at age 4½. At that point, key "facial cues" like big eyes and heads combined with small noses and mouths become less apparent, Time reports.

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"These cues make us feel soft and protective, whether or not we're biologically relatives," an expert writes. That helps babies survive; indeed, babies with "tiny eyes, flat foreheads, and square faces" tend to get less attention. Bonnie Rochman reflects on the study in Time, noting that while she doesn't have a favorite child, it would be difficult to argue that her youngest—at just about 4½—doesn't win the cuteness race. "Her face is still round, her body still squeezable, her baby teeth intact, and her syntax to die for." (Read more babies stories.)

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