Experiment to investigate the baby face effect

This review was conducted to investigate whether our impressions of others rely on their facial characteristics. It is a replication of the Berry and Zebrowitz-Mc Arthur (1988a) review in which it was recognized that people who have baby face features give the impression that they are incompetent of deceiving, or of committing offences deliberately, whilst people with adult face features influence our judgement negatively in situations of deceit, making us think it is more intentional.

The Indie Variable to be manipulated was a image of a man with either baby face or mature face features, whereas the Dependent Variable to be measured was the response to the same question. The mark people was Greek adolescent students. A systematic sample was picked, consisting of 20 schoolmates, both male and feminine, aged between 17 and 18 years old. The experimental design chosen was the indie actions design. The questionnaire addressed to participants comprised a brief description of the assumed offense committed, and questioned whether the person in the picture committed the criminal offenses "due to neglectfulness" or "deliberately". The members should tick one of the two alternative alternatives.

The results obtained are in accordance with the analysis of Berry and Zebrowitz-Mc Arthur (1988a), that is people have a tendency to think that baby faced individuals are much more likely to commit a criminal offenses by neglect, whereas mature encountered individuals are more likely to commit the same crime on purpose.

Berry and Zebrowitz-Mc Arthur (1988a) recognized that facial characteristics influence our judgement on whether a person is high-principled, genuine and trusted.

In their review they looked into the impact of baby-faced individuals on judgements about defendants in courts, examining whether participants were more likely to associate cosmetic immaturity with incompetence somewhat than misconduct. They used data from a mock trial, where things read descriptions of those who had falsified tax records by negligence or intentionally. Members in the test were much more likely to believe that baby-faced defendants were incompetent of committing a criminal offenses, whereas mature face defendants possessed deliberately deceived the duty authorities.

This study is a replication of the Berry and Zebrowitz-Mc Arthur (1988a) research. Its aim is showing to what degree baby face and mature face features affect Greek participants' judgement about other people's misdeeds. It investigates whether people believe that baby faced folks are more likely to commit a criminal offense from neglectfulness, whereas mature encountered individuals are more likely to commit the same criminal offense on purpose.

Method

Design

A field test was used. Actually, the experiment took place in the individuals' college, which is composed their natural environment.

Two questionnaires, especially well prepared for the needs of this research, were resolved to participants. The questionnaires included the same simple question: whether the man in the picture experienced conducted a specific crime due to carelessness or deliberately. Each questionnaire had a picture of a man with cool features: either of one man with a baby face or with a mature one. Thus, the image in each questionnaire was the Separate Variable to be manipulated, and the Dependent Variable was the response to the question (impression made).

The experimental design chosen was the independent measures design, which involves different individuals in each condition. This design was preferred since it doesn't present demand characteristics and order effects, since as each person participated only one time in the experiment, could not reckon the purpose of the analysis and act in a different way.

The making love of the folks in the images, the expressions on the faces and their standard appearance consisted possible Confounding Variables. In order to control these, the persons in the photos were of the same sex, the expressions on the faces were likewise and their basic appearance was similar. The researcher ensured that the individuals in the pictures were of the same get older as the individuals. Moreover, the judges that participated in the study were of the same era as the individuals, of both sexes. To avoid any ethical implications, a special Informed Consent Form and a Debriefing Sheet were given to all members, making sure them about confidentiality of studies.

Participants

The target people was Greek adolescent students. The sample contains 20 schoolmates, both male and feminine. They were aged between 17 and 18 yrs. old, and attended the this past year of the International HIGH SCHOOL. To avoid any errors in the results, the participants were chosen systematically. More specifically, a list with the brands of all students within the last season of the International HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION was made and out of this list every second person was chosen before designed size of the test was reached. Then, they were arbitrarily divided in two different categories with 10 participants each. This technique consists an neutral procedure and a fast procedure for sampling.

Materials

Two images with unknown young men, one with baby face and one with adult face characteristics

Informed Consent Form, (Appendix A)

Standardised instructions, (Appendix B)

Questionnaire with different photos, (Appendix C)

Debriefing Sheet, (Appendix D)

Procedure

Initially, two pictures of teenagers had to be chosen. Because of this, several pictures of young male individuals were picked from the Internet, making sure that all pictures were clear and the people to them were of about the same age group. About half of these were the pictures of men with baby face characteristics and the spouse of men with adult face characteristics. The pictures were shown to the judges from the Psychology class in order to help in the choice of both most representative pictures to put on the questionnaire.

Afterwards, a questionnaire was made containing a short explanation of the assumed offense determined, and questioning if the person in the picture determined the crime "as a consequence to negligence" or "on purpose". The members should tick one of the two alternative choices. The analysis was carried out during two successive days. Group A (baby face picture) participated in the study through the first day, and Group B (mature face picture) during the second day. All participants were informed as to the purpose of this study and they received the Informed Consent Form. Next, the researcher gave them the questionnaire alongside the same standardised instructions.

Each participant was analyzed individually in an empty school room and the task of filling in the questionnaire got no more than five minutes. No extra instructions or help was presented with. After collecting all the questionnaires, the Debriefing Sheet was presented with to all individuals.

Results

The variety of answers in regards to the intent of committing the criminal offense under the two conditions of the self-employed variable was calculated. The email address details are presented in the following table.

Table: Amount of answers under both conditions of the independent changing (baby face and adult face)

Number of answers

A condition

B condition

Due to negligence

7

2

On purpose

3

8

A: Criminal offense conducted by the infant face individual

B: Criminal offense conducted by the adult face individual

As respect the questionnaire with the baby face picture, 7 individuals out of 10 replied "a consequence of to neglect" and 3 people out of 10 replied "deliberately". Concerning the questionnaire with the mature face image, only 2 individuals out of 10 replied "due to neglect" and 8 individuals out of 10 replied "deliberately". The above information is illustrated in the following graph, in the form of percentages. As we can easily see, in the infant face case more participants presumed that the man committed the criminal offenses "due to negligence". In the mature face circumstance, the majority of the participants believed that he acted "on purpose".

Graph: Graphical representation of the individuals' answers under the two conditions of the indie varying (baby face and older face)

Discussion

Most of the individuals with the baby face photo believed that the person conducted this unlawful act due to neglectfulness whereas the participants with the older face assumed that the person conducted this against the law act deliberately. These results show that cosmetic characteristics influence individuals' judgement since facial immaturity is associated with incompetence of committing offences, whilst cosmetic maturity is associated with dishonest behaviour.

The results buy into the results of Berry and Zebrowitz-McArthur (1988a) where they indicated that people who have baby face features give the impression that they are incompetent of committing crimes, whereas people with adult face features influence our judgement negatively in instances of deceit, even although target people in this experiment (Greek adolescent students) was different from the main one in the study of Berry and Zebrowitz-McArthur (American participants). Therefore, the infant face effect has been established, as one factor influencing people's judgements.

The talents of the analysis are that confounding factors were controlled as much as possible. More specifically, the individuals in the photographs were of the same sex, the expressions on their faces were similarly and their general appearance was similar. Furthermore, all participants were given the same standardised instructions and the individuals in the pictures were of the same years as the members.

Nevertheless, there are several limitations that needs to be mentioned. The sample was very small and hence possibly biased (not all the top to the study characteristics are represented). Moreover, the experimental design chosen (self-employed steps design) has as major drawback individual differences between your participants that can have an effect on the results. Furthermore, in such a design one participant could show others the aim of the study making them adapt their performance. In addition, the two images were of male individuals whereas the members were of both sexes, leading to a possible connections of gender of participants and the individuals in the photography. Finally, the questionnaire was in English, which is not the native terminology of the individuals, and some difficulties in understanding the framework could have influenced the results.

Future work could be completed to increase the study. There are several suggestions that needs to be taken into consideration. Firstly, a more substantial sample could be chosen in order to add all quite characteristics of the target population and hence become more representative. Second of all, the questionnaire will include photographs of both sexes, to be able to investigate whether the sex of the person interferes with the infant face effect. Finally, a questionnaire written in the native vocabulary of the individuals would eliminate any possible misunderstandings due to the foreign language used.

From the results obtained we can conclude that Greek people tend to believe that baby faced individuals are much more likely to commit a criminal offenses by neglectfulness, whereas mature faced individuals are more likely to commit the same offense on purpose.

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