Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Cute kids get more attention from parents: study

This is funny!!

I wonder if this is the reason why my parents have only called me less than a hand full number of times in the past 5 years.......

Cute kids get more attention from parents: study

CTV.ca News Staff

Updated: Mon. Mar. 14 2005 11:29 PM ET

Not-so-cute children are more likely to be neglected by their parents -- at least that's what a researcher from the University of Alberta has found.

Andrew Herrell's original intention was to study safety in grocery stores, where children often suffer minor injuries. But the more he observed parents with youngsters in shopping carts, the more he noticed a pattern developing.

Herrell is the director of the population research lab in the university's sociology department. He and his study team found cute kids were more likely to be buckled into their grocery cart seat.

They also were kept closer to their parents and not allowed to wander more than three metres away.

Herrell and his team followed parents of children (between two and five years old) around 14 local supermarkets for 10 minutes each, and rated their looks on a scale of one to 10.

Herrell found that only 1.2 per cent of the least attractive kids were buckled into their cart seats, compared with 13.3 per cent of the most attractive kids.

Not-so-cute kids were also allowed to wander away more often than their cute cohorts.

"More attractive children were more likely hovered over and for the parent to keep some close contact with that attractive child," Herrell told CTV News. "What I think it means is in our society, attractiveness is an asset."

He says most parents would be stunned by his findings and would also heartily deny them. But he adds that after conducting 426 observations, he has noticed a pattern.

Herrell believes that parents are unwittingly acting out patterns of evolution seen throughout the animal world.

Humans have evolved to give the most attention to their children who are most likely to survive in our world and therefore to pass on genetic material.

Herrell says parents of ugly children are not any more likely to abuse their children; they are simply unaware that they are neglecting their children more than parents of other children do.

Aidan Kelly, a father of three in Edmonton, says he can't believe a child's looks could ever make a difference in how he or she is cared for.

"For someone to treat someone different because of their looks . . . I don't see how a parent could do that," he told CTV's Edmonton affiliate, CFRN News.

Harrell's findings didn't surprise Maryanne Fisher, a professor of psychology at Halifax's St. Mary's University, who says, "An unattractive person might not have the best genes, so you'd spend more time and effort to look after the people with good genes."

Great Grandfather Bill McConnell says there may be some truth to the controversial study's findings.

"We haven't had little kids for a long time," he said, "but I think if you visit families with kids, the cutest ones get all the attention.

With files from CFRN News' Sheldon Larmand and CTV's John Vennavally-Rao

© Copyright 2004 Bell Globemedia Inc.


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