"Kids Can Be So Cruel" Science: Squinting Kids Get Fewer Party Invites

By Joseph Calamia | August 20, 2010 12:43 pm

bdayWhom would you invite to your birthday party? If you’re a six-year-old, probably not the kid with an eye disorder.

Shown pictures of other children and asked to pick birthday party attendees, six- to eight-year-olds did not care about gender or shirt color with any statistical significance. But they did care if a possible invitee had strabismus–a condition when a child’s eyes don’t line up while focusing, often resulting in crossed eyes or squinting. This heart-breaker brought to you by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The photographs included identical twins: children in four pairs of pictures looked the same, except for their digitally altered shirt colors and eyes. Given four chances to pick children with strabismus, 18 of 48 children did not select any child with the disorder. None picked the child with the eye disorder on all four opportunities.

The researchers say the study indicates that parents may want to consider corrective surgery before children with strabismus turn six–apparently the age when kids take a turn for the shallow.

Younger birthday boys and girls appear to care less about what their invitees eyes looked like: Of 31 children between the ages of four and six, the researchers found that 9 children picked kids with strabismus three or four times. Only one meanie didn’t pick any children with an eye disorder.

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Image: flickr / Spojeni

  • Jumblepudding

    So the reason I had no friends is because of the sensitivity of my eyes to the sun as a child? I’m sure that’s at least one of a few contributing factors.

  • http://blog.liviablackburne.com Livia Blackburne

    If they got no other information other than the pictures, then I’m not *that* worried. If all the information they got in the experiment was superficial appearance information, then that’s the information they’re going to go on. I wonder if there’s a way to do a controlled study that gives information about personality too.

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