Reported maternal tendencies predict the reward value of infant facial cuteness, but not cuteness detection

Amanda C. Hahn, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The factors that contribute to individual differences in the reward value of cute infant facial characteristics are poorly understood. Here we show that the effect of cuteness on a behavioural measure of the reward value of infant faces is greater among women reporting strong maternal tendencies. By contrast, maternal tendencies did not predict women's subjective ratings of the cuteness of these infant faces. These results show, for the first time, that the reward value of infant facial cuteness is greater among women who report being more interested in interacting with infants, implicating maternal tendencies in individual differences in the reward value of infant cuteness. Moreover, our results indicate that the relationship between maternal tendencies and the reward value of infant facial cuteness is not due to individual differences in women's ability to detect infant cuteness. This latter result suggests that individual differences in the reward value of infant cuteness are not simply a by-product of low-cost, functionless biases in the visual system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20140978
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • baby
  • incentive salience
  • maternal desire
  • motivational salience
  • parental behaviour

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