Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ugly Kids

Here's an interesting study that shows parents don't care for their ugly kids as well as they care for their good-looking kids.

They also don't take as much care with good-looking girls as they do with good-looking boys.

Although the researchers were unsure why, good-looking boys were usually kept in closer proximity to the adults taking care of them than were pretty girls. The researchers speculated that girls might be considered more competent and better able to act independently than boys of the same age. The researchers made more than 400 observations of child-parent interactions in 14 supermarkets.

Dr. W. Andrew Harrell, executive director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta and the leader of the research team, sees an evolutionary reason for the findings: pretty children, he says, represent the best genetic legacy, and therefore they get more care.

I put forth an alternative for the researchers: (many) parents value boys more than they value girls, and they value pretty kids more than they value ugly kids, and Q.E.D.

And that does, as Harrell postulates, make a sort of evolutionary sense -- if you accept that parents think pretty=good genetic legacy and male=better genetic value (I guess because guys can defend the cave and girls hang around and gather carrots?).

I don't know -- all this environment-of-evolutionary-adaptedness thinking is still new to me.

1 comment:

zelda1 said...

Well of my mother's ten children, I was the ugly duckling. My little sister, however, was the little princes. I can tell you from first hand experience that parents and other relatives treat the ugly duckling quite differenly than they do the little princess. On the other hand, the little princess is as dumb as a bag of rocks while I start graduate school in the fall.