For the study, Walline and his colleagues assembled a series of 24 pairs of pictures of children for comparison. The children in each pair differed by gender and ethnicity, and each pair included one child with glasses and one child without glasses.
The questionnaire featured six questions, many based on similar studies in adults. When presented with each pair of photos, the participants were asked which of the two children pictured would you rather play with; looks smarter or looks better at playing sports; do you think which is better looking, looks more shy or looks more honest?
Children between the ages of 6 and 10 who were surveyed for the study think that kids wearing glasses look more honest than children who don't wear glasses. Otherwise, the survey suggests that children don't tend to judge the attractiveness of their peers who wear glasses when ask about their appearance, potential as a playmate or likely athletic abilities.
Walline says the findings suggest that media portrayals associating spectacles with intelligence may be reinforcing a stereotype that even young children accept. The fact that the question of attractiveness yielded no significantly different answers for children with or without glasses suggests that kids don't automatically consider kids with glasses to be unattractive, Walline says.
Eighty young children, 42 girls and 38 boys, were surveyed. Of those, 38% wore glasses, 34 had at least one sibling with glasses and almost two-thirds had at least one parent who wore glasses.
"The concern about attractiveness with glasses seems to be more internal to a particular child rather than an indicator of how they'll feel about other people who wear glasses," Walline says.
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