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Abstract

In three experiments, we traced the development of the adult pattern of judgments of attractiveness for faces that have been altered to have internal features in low, average, or high positions. Twelve-year-olds and adults demonstrated identical patterns of results: they rated faces with features in an average location as significantly more attractive than faces with either low or high features. Although both 4-year-olds and 9-year-olds rated faces with high features as least attractive, unlike adults and 12-year-olds, they rated faces with low and average features as equally attractive. Three-year-olds with high levels of peer interaction, but not those with low levels of peer interaction, chose faces with low features as significantly more attractive than those with high-placed features, possibly as a result of their increased experience with the proportions of the faces of peers. Overall, the pattern of results is consistent with the hypothesis that experience influences perceptions of attractiveness, with the proportions of the faces participants see in their everyday lives influencing their perceptions of attractiveness.