The Huron University College Journal of Learning and Motivation

Article Title

The Baby Schema's Influence on Motor Dexterity


Alyssa Kuiack


Using 20 males (mean age of 28.15 years) and 20 females (mean age of 31.25 years), participants were tested in a variation on the studies done by Sherman et al. in 2009 and Nittono et al. in 2012. Both experiments found that participants were more careful on a motor dexterity task immediately following exposure to images of baby animals in comparison to adult animals. This result was thought to have occurred due to the evolutionary importance of offspring survival and the resulting carefulness and responsiveness after being exposed to a set of infantile characteristics that Lorenz named "the baby schema". The purpose of the current study was to replicate the findings of Sherman et al. and Nittono et al. using images of human infant and adult faces. In this experiment, participants played the children's game of "Operation" to measure their motor dexterity. They were then exposed to 10 images of either infant or adult faces and asked to rate each face on a 7-point scale for "cuteness". Participants then played the motor dexterity game again and scores were compared. A 2x2 analysis of variants revealed no main effect of sex on game performance (F(l,36)=0.05,/i>0.05 and F(l,36)=0.63, p>0.05), no main effect of viewing images of adults versus infants (F(l,36)=0.15,;7>0.05 and F(l,36)=1.81,j9>0.05) and no interaction (F(l,36)=0.03, p>0.05 and F(l,36)=0.16,/7>0.05).

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