Research Days 2023 Poster Sessions

The Babyface Phenomenon: The Effect of Adult Neoteny on Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System

Location

GSU Library

Start Date

3-31-2023 11:45 AM

End Date

3-31-2023 1:15 PM

Description of Program

Neoteny, relative to this study, is the retention of childlike facial features in adult individuals. The purpose of this study is to explore whether the presence of neotenous features (1) effects how individuals are perceived during judicial proceedings and (2) whether those perceptions impact the severity of their punishment/ sentencing.

Abstract

Neoteny is the retention of childlike facial features in adult individuals, better known as babyface. Neotenous features, pertaining to this project, are characterized by a large forehead, small chin, larger lips, rounder face shape, larger eyes, and smaller nose. Research dictates that adults with these features are associated with the psychological attributes of children in addition to looking like them. Furthermore, because of humankind’s innate desire to nurture and protect children and babies, neotenous adults are said to be viewed and treated much in the same way actual babies are. Research suggests that jury verdicts within the judicial system are not reached solely via informed decision making or contingent on evidence. Oftentimes, these verdicts are achieved, to some extent, through unconscious biases that are usually formed through external perceptions and environmental factors. As it relates to adults with neotenous features, studies also determined that babyfaced individuals are often found not guilty when the crime committed is intentional and premeditated. This means that the actions of babyfaced adults who are convicted of a crime are more likely to be attributed to fortuitous circumstances rather than having been deliberate or malicious. The present study seeks to examine the association between neoteny and leniency within the context of the judicial system. Specifically, we seek to examine how the possession of neotenous features may or may not aid individuals in evading accountability, both regarding guilty or not guilty verdicts and sentencing severity.

Faculty / Staff Sponsor

Dr. Alli Cipra

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Mar 31st, 11:45 AM Mar 31st, 1:15 PM

The Babyface Phenomenon: The Effect of Adult Neoteny on Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System

GSU Library

Neoteny is the retention of childlike facial features in adult individuals, better known as babyface. Neotenous features, pertaining to this project, are characterized by a large forehead, small chin, larger lips, rounder face shape, larger eyes, and smaller nose. Research dictates that adults with these features are associated with the psychological attributes of children in addition to looking like them. Furthermore, because of humankind’s innate desire to nurture and protect children and babies, neotenous adults are said to be viewed and treated much in the same way actual babies are. Research suggests that jury verdicts within the judicial system are not reached solely via informed decision making or contingent on evidence. Oftentimes, these verdicts are achieved, to some extent, through unconscious biases that are usually formed through external perceptions and environmental factors. As it relates to adults with neotenous features, studies also determined that babyfaced individuals are often found not guilty when the crime committed is intentional and premeditated. This means that the actions of babyfaced adults who are convicted of a crime are more likely to be attributed to fortuitous circumstances rather than having been deliberate or malicious. The present study seeks to examine the association between neoteny and leniency within the context of the judicial system. Specifically, we seek to examine how the possession of neotenous features may or may not aid individuals in evading accountability, both regarding guilty or not guilty verdicts and sentencing severity.