What is the baby-face stereotype and how does it give bloggers an advantage?

We all know someone who looks ridiculously (often suspiciously) good for their age. Grown men and women who look like they’ve found the map to the fountain of youth and proceeded to dive into it. Psychologists, quite simply refers to this youthful disposition as baby-facedness. Baby-faced people are those who have large, wide set eyes, high eyebrows, a large forehead and cheeks and a small chin. Research suggests that being blessed with a perpetual baby-face can benefit your life beyond saving money on expensive face creams with added youth-enhancing chemicals like Q10 (what even is that?).

What’s the first thing you think of when you see babies?

“Aww”, “how adorable” and “I want one!” are usually the spontaneous responses elicited from people when gushing over tiny toes and chubby cheeks. Even the baby-adverse among us are not exempt from our evolutionary disposition to nurture the infantile. But what happens when you come across a baby-faced adult? Whilst you’re unlikely to make silly faces and poke at their tummy’s you do make subconscious and positive inferences about them. Research has shown that baby-faced adults elicit stereotypically protective responses from those around them because people associate their youthful facial features with the naiveté, helplessness, honesty, and innocence of babies.

The effect of baby-facedness is so strong that it has even been proven to be a helpful defence tool in court. A study by Zebrowitz and McDonald found that as defendants increased in baby-facedness they were more likely to win their cases, even those involving deliberate and intentionally unlawful actions. The study also found that baby-faced plaintiffs were awarded higher monetary pay outs than those with more mature faces.

When it comes to fashion marketing, research suggests that baby-faced models, bloggers and brand ambassadors alike may have a slight advantage. Because of their innocent facial features, reviews conducted by baby-faced individuals are deemed to be more truthful suggesting that any positive reviews made by such people will be more successful. A report by Lidwell, Holden and Butler also argued that testimonial commercials in particular will benefit from featuring baby-faced models whose innocent, cherub-like faces make them appear more believable. The report also suggests that brands seeking influencers to create reviews on more serious products like medical procedures for example, should avoid those with high baby-facedness as they “have difficulty being taken seriously in situations where expertise or confrontation is required”. However, this seemingly negative judgement is not universal as a study by Zebrowitz and Franklin found that older adults believe baby-faced people to be more competent
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Do you think you have a baby face? Check out the slideshow below to discover some baby-faced celebrities and bloggers.

Author

Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a Fashion Psychologist and writer who has been featured in Marie Claire UK, i-D, Who What Wear, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, Fashion Bomb Daily, The Voice Newspaper, Gal-Dem, Black Matters US and more.

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