Tag Archives: social science

Children as young as three recognise ‘cuteness’ in faces of people and animals

Children as young as three are able to recognise the same ‘cute’ infantile facial features in humans and animals which encourage caregiving behaviour in adults, new research has shown.Puppies and kittens with baby schema

A study investigating whether youngsters can identify baby-like characteristics – a set of traits known as the ‘baby schema’ – across different species has revealed for the first time that even pre-school children rate puppies, kittens and babies as cuter than their adult counterparts.

The discovery that young children are influenced by the baby schema – a round face, high forehead, big eyes and a small nose and mouth – is a significant step towards understanding why humans are more attracted to infantile features, the study authors believe.

The baby schema has been proven to engender protective, care-giving behaviour and a decreased likelihood of aggression toward infants from adults.

The research was carried out by PhD student Marta Borgi and Professor Kerstin Meints, members of the Evolution and Development Research Group in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, UK.
Marta said: “This study is important for several reasons. We already knew that adults experience this baby schema effect, finding babies with more infantile features cuter.

“Our results provide the first rigorous demonstration that a visual preference for these traits emerges very early during development. Independently of the species viewed, children in our study spent more time looking at images with a higher degree of these baby-like features.

“Interestingly, while participants gave different cuteness scores to dogs, cats and humans, they all found the images of adult dog faces cuter than both adult cats and human faces.”

The researchers carried out two experiments with children aged between three and six years old: one to track eye movements to see which facial areas the children were drawn to, and a second to assess how cute the children rated animals and humans with infantile traits.

Pictures of human adults and babies, dogs, puppies, cats and kittens were digitally manipulated to appear ‘cuter’ by applying baby schema characteristics. The same source images were also made less cute by giving the subjects more adult-like features: a narrow face, low forehead, small eyes, and large nose and mouth – making this study more rigorous than previous work.

The children rated how cute they thought each image was and their eye movements were analysed using specialist eye-tracking software developed by the University of Lincoln.

The research could also lead to improved education in teaching children about safe behaviour with dogs.
Professor Kerstin Meints, Professor in Developmental Psychology at Lincoln’s School of Psychology, supervised the research.

She said: “We have also demonstrated that children are highly attracted to dogs and puppies, and we now need to find out if that attractiveness may override children’s ability to recognise stress signalling in dogs.”

“This study will also lead to further research with an impact on real life, namely whether the ‘cuteness’ of an animal in rescue centres makes them more or less likely to be adopted.”

This research was published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Source:
Cerri Evans - PR Officer
Cerri Evans - PR Officer
Telephone: 01522 886244

 

EPSRC’s Latest Calls for Proposals.

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This is EPSRC’s email alert of the latest calls for proposals.

Advanced materials for nuclear fission

This call is for collaborative research projects that investigate new advanced materials for use in radioactive environments in current and future nuclear power stations.

Closing date: 21 August 2014 at 16:00 http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/calls/advancedmaterialsfornuclearfission/

Contrails:  finding, understanding and countering crime in the cloud

Working with the Metropolitan Police Service and the National Crime Agency, EPSRC and ESRC are jointly requesting proposals for a research Centre which will improve understanding of, and responses to, criminal activities and behaviour in the cloud.

Closing date: 16 September 2014 at 16:00 http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/calls/contrails/

EPSRC-JSPS core-to-core collaboration in spintronics and advanced materials

EPSRC are seeking Expressions of Interest for participation in the JSPS Core-to-Core scheme in the area of spintronics and advanced materials.

Closing date: 18 July 2014 at 16:00 http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/calls/epsrcjspscollabs/

Scheme to recognise Academic Centres of Excellence for Cyber Security Research

On behalf of partners across the UK Government, EPSRC is inviting applications from UK Universities who would like to be recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR.) This is the third and final call in the initial phase of this scheme.

Closing date: 12 December 2014 at 16:00 http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/calls/acecsr3rdcall/

Fellowships

Fellowships are available in a number of priority areas http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/fellows/areas/

Applications can be submitted at any time and will be processed on a rolling basis – further information on the application and peer review process http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/fellows/peerreviewprocess/

New Call! World Anti-Doping Agency Social Science Research Grant

downloadThe 2015 Social Science Research Grant Program is now open.

WADA – the World Anti-Doping Agency – has issued a call for proposals for its 2015 Social Science Research Program. The purpose of the Grant Program is to encourage research in the social sciences which will lead to the development of more efficient strategies to prevent doping amo
ngst athletes.

Applicants can be from various organisations
including universities, colleges, small businesses, for-profit and not-for-profit organisations.

For 2015, proposals are invited in one of the following three areas:

  1. Developing intervention models based on up-to-date research findings.
  2. The perception of legitimacy of anti-doping rules and organizations and its effect on athletes’ attitudes and buy-in to anti-doping programs.
  3. Understanding deterrence measures for entourage.

The deadline for submissions is 10 July 2014.

Applicants will be notified of the results in December 2014.

For more information please visit the WADA website

New Deadline iCalendar for Horizon 2020

A new iCalendar has been produced by the European Commission, providing up-to-date information on Horizon 2020 deadlines for the next two years.

The iCalendar, which can be accessed through the Participant Portal will be kept up-to-date centrally by the EC and can also be downloaded to be used with Microsoft Outlook.

To access the iCalendar, you simply need to click on the calendar icons located next to ‘Calls’ and ‘Call Updates’ on the left hand side of the Participant Portal’s ‘Funding Opportunities’ page.

Source: UKRO

Call for Individual Fellowships under Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions opens today

Individual Fellowships from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) will award experienced scientists (postdocs) who want to strengthen their career through mobility. The MCSA offer funding schemes for moving and working at a host institution within or outside Europe. Candidates of any nationality can participate.

Only the country of the institution where the candidate will work is determinant. In that context, and following recent political developments, please note that Switzerland is currently considered as a Third Country and Swiss institutions cannot host MSCA fellowships.

For questions, please contact Research & Enterprise. The 2014 budget for Individual Fellowships under MSCA is €240.5 millions.

The deadline is 11 September 2014.

Further Information

Source: Cyrille Girardin, EURESEARCH