New Study Proves Kids Really Don’t Like Men With Beards
This might be why little ones cry when they see Santa.
Research has shown that adults view men with beards as stronger, older, more masculine, healthier, better at parenting, and more attractive than their clean-shaven counterparts. But kids? They feel a little differently.
In a new study, Dr. Nicole Nelson, a researcher of facial expressions at the University of Queensland in Australia, and her colleagues showed 470 children aged 2 to 17 photos of bearded and beardless men and asked them to evaluate them on the basis of certain traits, like masculinity, strength, and trustworthiness.
Their findings, which were recently published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, revealed that little kids thought bearded men were more masculine, stronger, and older than men without beards, but they also found them less attractive. This pattern became even more extreme into early adolescence. (The caveat here is that, unsurprisingly, children whose fathers had beards had a warmer response to them than those who did not.)
“As early as one year [and] nine months, [toddlers] dislike beards, and kids, as they got older, up to about 13 years, continue to dislike beards even more,” Nelson told NPR. “The understanding that beards are linked to strength is there very early, but they don’t seem to trust beards at all.”
Interestingly enough, once they hit puberty, the subjects’ feelings about beards switched suddenly. So the practical implications of the study indicate that while having a beard might make a child think you’d be great to have around in the event of a fight with a dragon, it might also make them less likely to gravitate towards you unless you’re their father.
“I think [growing a beard is] a good move if you want to kind of boost your manliness—if you want to look a little more dominant, you want to look a little bit older,” Nelson said. “Those things come along with children being slightly afraid of you. If you want to chat with children, you might not want a beard.”
And for more recent science on male facial features, check out Here’s Why Women Are Attracted to Square-Jawed Men.
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