The Scientific Reason Babies Are Entranced By Beautiful Faces

Babies are born with an eye for beauty.

By Juliana Stewart2 min read
The Scientific Reason Babies Are Entranced By Beautiful Faces

I once attended a women's meet up group with my friend Rachel. When we arrived at the restaurant, there were 15 women in their 20s - 50s. The only available seats were next to a mother and her baby, so we sat down next to her. The lady introduced herself as Kim and her baby Leo; he was so cute with his big brown eyes and chubby cheeks. He must have been about one year old. My heart melted as he tried to climb out of his pram to play with us, but Kim grabbed him and told him to be still. 

As we all started chattering away, I couldn't help notice Leo staring at Rachel. He was fixated and couldn't take his eyes off her. At first, I thought, "aw, how cute," but when he continued to stare at her for the entire 90 minutes we were there, I thought it was a bit odd. His mother even apologized for his awkwardness and couldn't quite understand why he wouldn't stop gawking at my friend.

When the event finished, Rachel and I laughed it off and put it down as just one of those weird and funny things that happen in life.

Babies Are Attracted To Beauty

As I scrolled through Twitter the other day, I came across this tweet about babies, which reminded me of the incident:

Coming to think of it, I've noticed that this is a common thing with Rachel, who is undeniably beautiful. And not just her looks, but her overall character and energy. She's that friend who is there for you when you need her, she's that person who always brings gifts whenever she visits, and she's always impeccably dressed. She's the perfect woman. The incredible thing about her is she doesn't realize how beautiful she is, making her even more attractive. 

Anyway, every time we're around babies, they seem to be drawn to her like a magnet, almost like they've been possessed, and now I understand why.

Research Confirms This

According to UK researcher Dr. Alan Slater, babies prefer to look at attractive faces, just like adults.

In a study he conducted at the University of Exeter, Dr. Slater and his colleagues took photos of various female faces and asked people to rate them for attractiveness, scoring them on a scale from 1 to 5. They then presented the pictures to newborn infants and found that all the babies spent more time looking at the prettier faces.

In babies' minds, pretty faces help their brains process information and learn about their environment more easily.  

"It helps them to recognize familiar faces — particularly that of the mother — and it helps them in learning about the social world,” Dr. Slater explained.

Our brains naturally look for patterns to learn from so we can make better decisions, and according to beauty standards and science, what makes a face attractive is symmetry. Symmetrical faces have more patterns than ones that aren’t.

Our brains naturally look for patterns, and symmetrical faces have more patterns and more beauty.

Furthermore, a baby's vision is not fully developed. High contrast colors, particularly black and white, can help them interpret the world more easily, leading to greater learning ability. So if a woman has dark hair and fair skin or wears brightly colored lipstick, this too can attract a baby's attention.

Unlike adults who are aware of social boundaries, babies have no restraints. We adults will notice a beautiful face immediately but tend to look away so the other person doesn't feel uncomfortable, whereas a baby will act on impulse, which explains why Leo kept staring at Rachel.

Closing Thoughts

These findings show that our preference for attractive people isn't something we develop overtime but is innate and hardwired from birth, which challenges the idea that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." 

So if you're one of those people babies tend to stare at, congrats! You’re most likely a babe.