Parents treat attractive children better than ugly children
Parental treatment of their children was evaluated by monitoring their parenting styles in supermarkets. Particularly, researchers observed whether or not parents used the available seat belts on shopping carts or paid attention to if the child was behaving in a way that could be dangerous. They found that the attractiveness of the child directly determined how often the parent used seatbelts and paid attention to the child's safety.
This demonstrates that attractiveness determines a great degree of our early life experience, even in terms of how affectionate or protective our parents are, from the earliest years. Thus the psychological differences between adults who are attractive vs. those that are unattractive can be seen as an interaction of nature and nurture. Children who are attractive by nature get nurtured more, and thus develop into more confident, successful, and happy people later in life. Their looks provide a constant positive feedback cycle where people care more about contributing to their well-being over time.
Researchers at the University of Alberta carefully observed how parents treated their children during trips to the supermarket. They found that physical attractiveness made a big difference.
The researchers noted if the parents belted their youngsters into the grocery cart seat, how often the parents' attention lapsed and the number of times the children were allowed to engage in potentially dangerous activities like standing up in the shopping cart.
Pretty and ugly children were treated in starkly different ways, with seat belt use increasing in direct proportion to attractiveness.
When a woman was in charge, 4 percent of the homeliest children were strapped in compared with 13.3 percent of the most attractive children.
The difference was even more acute when fathers led the shopping expedition – in those cases, none of the least attractive children were secured with seat belts, while 12.5 percent of the prettiest children were.
Like lots of animals, we tend to parcel out our resources on the basis of value, he said. Maybe we can't always articulate that, but in fact we do it. There are a lot of things that make a person more valuable, and physical attractiveness may be one of them.
Bakalar, N. 2005. Ugly Children May Get Parental Short Shrift. New York Times. [Article]