Adults find children less adorable once they hit kindergarten, according to a new study.
When asked to rate how much they liked the faces of children aged from infants to 6 years, a group of 60 adults tended to find younger kids cuter. The cut off point was around 4 and a half, reports Psychology Today.
The study, by psychologists in China and Canada, found that both men and women rated babies more likeable and attractive than toddlers, though toddlers were rated cuter than preschoolers.
According to the researchers, this is a biological response to changes in children’s faces as they grow up. Humans are drawn to the specific features babies have, such as a large head, round face and big eyes. These features bring out our protective side, which biologically makes us want to take care of infants. As they grow older, they lose some of this babyish charm, and we aren’t as strongly drawn to them.
“Children’s faces lose some of their universal babyish appeal right around the age that they don’t need it anymore to survive,” read the study. They also linked this age to around the time when our ‘hunter-gatherer foremothers’ would have turned their attention to having a second baby.
We’re pretty sure most mums would disagree about their own 4 and a half year olds though!