Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

Marilyn Mendolia

Second Advisor

Elicia Lair

Third Advisor

Matthew Reysen

Relational Format



While researchers suggest that people displaying emotional expressions are memorable because of meanings associated with the expressions, the current study explored whether other facial characteristics, such as attractiveness and babyfaceness, how much an adult's face resembles a baby's, influence memorability as well. Introductory psychology students (150 female, 53 male) participated in an incidental memory task in which they attempted to recognize actors they had previously seen displaying emotional expressions who varied in both emotional attractiveness, how attractive actors appear due to changes in facial features associated with displaying emotional expressions, and emotional babyfaceness, how babyfaced actors appear due to changes in facial features associated with displaying emotional expressions. As predicted, the interaction of emotional attractiveness and emotional babyfaceness predict the variance in memorability for actors displaying fearful expressions, but not for actors displaying happy or angry expressions. The current study suggests, then, that people's attractiveness and babyfaceness when displaying an emotional expression seem to influence how well they will be recognized when displaying fearful expressions. These results suggest that people who use eyewitness identification judgments, such as those in law enforcement, should consider the attractiveness and babyfaceness of those depicted when developing photos that will be used for eyewitness identification tasks.


Emphasis: Experimental Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons



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