Researchers observed children in shopping carts at supermarkets, and rated the children for physical attractiveness on a scale of one to ten.
Findings showed that 1.2 per cent of the least attractive children were buckled in, compared with 13.3 per cent of the most attractive youngsters. The observers also noticed the less attractive children were allowed to wander further away and more often from their parents. In total, there were 426 observations at the 14 supermarkets.
Harrell, who has been researching shopping cart safety since 1990 and has published a total of 13 articles on the topic, figures his latest results are based on a parent's instinctive Darwinian response: we're unconsciously more likely to lavish attention on attractive children simply because they're our best genetic material.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
People from higher social classes have more attractive children. (Higher social classes value attractiveness more, and because of cross-assortative mating they tend to have better genetic material.) People from higher social classes also look more attentively after their children. Thus it is the higher social class that causes both the attentive behavior and the attractiveness. Mr. Harrell has his cause and effect backwards.