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Women 'attuned to babies' cuteness'

Women are able to identify cute babies, according to a new study.
New scientific research has revealed that women of a certain age are hormonally programmed to determine a baby's 'cuteness'.

Researchers from the University of St Andrews found that women determine how cute a baby is by features such as chubby cheeks, a large forehead, big round eyes and a button nose.

These features were exaggerated in computer-generated images of a baby and placed alongside a photo of a baby whose 'cute' features had not been amplified.

It was found that women aged 19 to 51 were acutely sensitive to the varying degrees of cuteness between the baby pictures.

However, women aged 53 to 60 struggled to tell the difference between the pictures as much as men, the study found.

It is thought that the reason for this may be that 51 is the average age for menopause among British women, so they are no longer hormonally programmed to identify cute babies.

Dr Reiner Sprengelmeyer, who led the study, explained: "Because average age at menopause is 51 years in Britain, these findings suggest the possible involvement of reproductive hormones in cuteness sensitivity.

"Given that cuteness is considered an indicator of being young, helpless and in need of care, we [believe] that the ability to detect small variations in the degree of cuteness may have evolved to guide the allocation of necessary maternal resources to the infant."

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