Overgeneralizing belonging: Limited exposure to baby-faced targets increases the feeling of social belonging

Donald F. Sacco, John Paul Wilson, Kurt Hugenberg, James H. Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We tested the hypothesis that exposure to babyish faces can serve a social surrogacy function, such that even limited exposure to babyish faces can fulfill social belongingness needs. We manipulated the sex and facial maturity of a target face seen in an imagined social interaction, on a between-participants basis. Regardless of target sex, individuals indicated greater satisfaction of social belongingness needs following an imagined interaction with a babyish face, compared to a mature adult face. These results indicate that brief exposure to babyish (relative to mature) faces, even without an extensive interaction, can lead to the satisfaction of social belongingness needs. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2014



  • face perception
  • facial morphology
  • social belonging
  • social perception

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