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Growth-Produced Changes in Body Shape and Size as Determinants of Perceived Age and Adult Caregiving
Thomas R. Alley
Vol. 54, No. 1 (Feb., 1983), pp. 241-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129882
Page Count: 8
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The ethological hypothesis that "parental" caregiving can be elicited by certain physical characteristics of infants was investigated in 3 experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2, adults' responses to line drawings of humans varying only in size or body proportions showed that the reported tendency to protect others decreases as the size and shape of the recipient's body changes due to growth. In the third experiment, the rated cuddliness of the drawings varying in body proportions also decreased as their portrayed age increased. The changes in body proportions were found to be an effective source of information for relative age. These results support the ethological view that individuals who appear more youthful in terms of body size or shape are more likely to be recipients of adult caretaking.
Child Development © 1983 Society for Research in Child Development