A study found that most Adults find babies most appealing when they reach around six months old.
Previous research suggests babies have evolved ‘cute’ characteristics, such as big eyes, chubby cheeks and cooing noises in order to bring out a nurturing instinct in adults that better ensures their survival.
Youngsters only typically take on these features at around six months old, which may be due to infant mortality previously being high; therefore delayed attachment may have made their deaths easier to cope with, past studies imply.
Lead author Professor Tony Volk from Brock University in Ontario, said: ‘We want to let parents know that if they’re not instantly grabbed by this baby as much as they thought they might be, then that’s normal.
The researchers were surprised by their findings, as they assumed younger babies would be thought of as the cutest.
They believed adults would feel the greatest urge to care for infants in the initial stages of their lives as this is when they are most vulnerable.
The researchers showed 142 people photographs of 18 babies taken shortly after birth, at three months old and then at six months.
They asked the study’s participants how willing they would be to adopt these infants based on their cuteness, happiness, perceived health and self-resemblance.
The findings were published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.