The human and animal baby schema effect: Correlates of individual differences

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We investigated the animal and human baby schema effect (BSE) in relation to gender, parental status, and individual features. In three, independent online surveys, conducted during three consecutive years, (Ntotal = 1389), ratings of photographs of human and animal infants as well as of adults, sociodemographic variables (age, gender, parental status) and personality attributes (empathy, attachment, interpersonal closeness, narcissism, and need to belong) were assessed. We demonstrated that humans are sensitive to the baby schemata of both humans and animals and that both are weakly positively correlated. BSE is positively associated with female gender and (affective) empathy. Higher interpersonal closeness and need to belong were additionally connected specifically to the human BSE. In contrast, narcissism and insecure attachment were not related to the BSE, suggesting a robustness of this phenomenon to possible negative influences of these two personality attributes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
JournalBehavioural Processes
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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