"Interestingly, while participants gave different cuteness scores to dogs, cats and humans, they all found the images of adult dog faces cuter than both adult cats and human faces. Borgi added."
London, July 22 - Know why your young one goes overboard the moment he/she sees that lovely kitten or a beautiful puppy? Because cuteness gets ingrained into his/her mind as early as age three.
As soon as they turn three, children prefer puppies, kittens and babies as cuter than their adult counterparts, a recent study shows.
This phenomenon, known as baby schema, can reduce aggression and make adults protective, affectionate and more willing to care when they see these traits of an infant, The Independent reported.
Researchers know that adults experience this baby schema effect, finding babies with more infantile features cuter.
Our results suggest that a visual preference for these traits emerges very early during development, said lead author Marta Borgi from the University of Lincoln in the UK.
The study looked at children aged between three to six years and showed them images of humans, dogs and cats.
The researchers asked them if they found the picture cute and also tracked their eye movements to see the features they were drawn to.
Interestingly, while participants gave different cuteness scores to dogs, cats and humans, they all found the images of adult dog faces cuter than both adult cats and human faces. Borgi added.
The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.