The purpose of this research is to investigate precursors in the development of stereotypes based on gender, attractiveness, and masculinity/femininity appearance cues. Examining these precursors will be a first step toward understanding how emotionally-laden, stereotypic attributes become linked to groups of people who are similar in appearance. The development of appearance-based stereotypes is important to understand because of the deleterious effects resulting from the stereotypes, such as negative judgment and treatment (e.g., Langlois et al., 2000). In addition, stereotypes related to appearance cues affect perceptions and treatment of mental and physical health (e.g., Nehls, 1998; Kaplan, Winget, & Free, 1990; Langlois et al., 2000; Masline & Davis, 1975; Morash, Haarr, & Rucker, 1994; Rhodes et al., 2001; Swenson & Ragucci, 1984), and internalization of these stereotypes may lead to actual differences in social competence and health (Grimmelll & Stern, 1992; Kopper & Epperson, 1996; Matter & Matter, 1989; Umberson & Hughes, 1987). Thus, it is important to understand the origins of these stereotypes. Using two commonly accepted methods for testing infants (familiarization and visual preference paradigms), the proposed studies will investigate how the cues of gender, attractiveness, and masculinity/femininity contribute to making some faces seem more """"""""familiar"""""""" than others. Familiarity of faces should elicit infants' visual preferences (e.g., Hunter & Ames, 1988) and subsequently guide their categorization of faces into groups based on these cues. Infants' visual preferences for and categorization of certain types of faces are two developmental processes posited to precede linking of stereotypic attributions to groups of people (e.g., Ramsey, Langlois, Hess, Rubenstein, & Griffin, in press; Zebrowitz-McArthur, 1982). Results have implications for understanding early stereotype development and informing interventions aimed at reducing stereotypes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
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Maholmes, Valerie
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University of Nevada Las Vegas
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Las Vegas
United States
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