"Ugly" Babies and Postpartum Depression: Is There a Link?

Suzanne Murray
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women can spot cute babies ugly babies and postpartum depression

What a cutie!

Do you know a cute baby when you see one? Psychologists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland did some research and found that women can spot "cuteness" in a baby better than men. What makes a baby cute? Chubby cheeks, button noses, and big eyes.

The researchers showed men and women computer-generated composite images of babies with and without these "cute" features. Young women were more sensitive to differences in infant cuteness than men, who didn't really notice a difference in the babies. Menopausal women rated cuteness at the same level as men. The findings suggest that reproductive hormones might have something to do with "cuteness sensitivity."

That's kind of scary. If a heightened awareness to cuteness is being linked to reproductive hormones/maternal instinct, does that mean a mother who has a baby without chubby cheeks, a button nose, and big eyes won't be as devoted to her child? Wouldn't our natural instinct do the opposite—make us think our baby is cute no matter what so that we care for it?

There's more: The scientists are going to do further research to see if cuteness sensitivity is related to postpartum depression. In other words, they're going to study whether women who suffer this kind of depression have "ugly" babies.

What do you think? Is there such a thing as an ugly baby? Is linking "ugly" babies to postpartum depression scientific or stupid?

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