Pojkar med babyansikte är inte alltid änglar

Andra människors ansikten påverkar vår uppfattning om dem. Vissa har babyansikten, dvs. deras ansikten har drag som påminner om en litet barns: rund form, stora ögon, liten nästa, hög panna och smal haka. Mannen till höger har ett babyansikte, till skillnad från mannen till vänster:

babyface

Hur påverkas tonårspojkar av att ha babyansikte? Tre studier* har undersökt om de försöker kompensera för sitt mer barnlika utseende genom att bete sig tvärtemot förväntningarna:

Three studies tested the hypothesis that babyfaced adolescent boys would compensate for the undesirable expectation that they will exhibit childlike traits by behaving contrary to it. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that babyfaced boys from middle- and lower class samples, including a sample of delinquents, showed higher academic achievement than their mature-faced peers, refuting the stereotype of babyfaced people as intellectually weak. In the lower class samples, this compensation effect was moderated by IQ and socioeconomic status (SES), variables that influence the ability to overcome low expectations. Study 3 showed that babyfaceness also can produce negative compensatory behaviors. Low-SES babyfaced boys were more likely than their mature-faced peers to be delinquent, and babyfaced delinquents committed more crimes, refuting the stereotype of babyfaced people as warm, submissive, and physically weak.

Så om du möter ett bråkigt gäng med tonårspojkar, förvänta dig inte att de med babyansikten är minst farliga.

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*Zebrowitz, Leslie A., Andreoletfi, Carrie, Collins, Mary Ann, Lee, So Young och Blumenthal, Jeremy (1998). ”Bright, Bad, Babyfaced Boys: Appearance Stereotypes Do Not Always Yield Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Effects.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(5): 1300—1320.