A review of infants’ and children’s facial cues’ influence on adults’ perceptions and behaviors.

Parenting is a complex behavior that involves making a significant investment in 1 or more children. Evolutionary theory predicts that this investment should be a facultative decision based on a cost-benefit analysis. One important source of information for parents regarding this decision may be cues that come directly from the child, such as resemblance to parent, health, age, sex (gender), happiness, and cuteness. Therefore, we review a vibrant, growing body of literature on the evolutionary importance of infant and child facial cues on adults’ perceptions and behaviors related to parental care. While this literature has already generated some review articles, it lacks a comprehensive review of the methods, effect sizes, and theoretical underpinnings of the research. Our review, therefore, focuses on examining the strengths and weaknesses in the methods used to study infant and child facial cues, providing estimated effect sizes associated with these data, and offering new theoretical and practical implications for multiple infant and child facial cues. Overall, our review suggests that infant and child facial cues are potentially important, but underappreciated, factors that can influence evolved parenting behaviors and parent–child interactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)