Resemblance to self increases the appeal of child faces to both men and women

Lisa Marie Debruine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Platek et al. [Evol. Hum. Behav. 23 (2002) 159; 24 (2003) 81] reported that facial resemblance between self and a child increases professed willingness to invest in that child, and does so much more for men than for women. Because facial resemblance is a possible cue of kinship, and men, unlike women, can be mistaken about parenthood, Platek et al. predicted and interpreted this sex difference as an adaptation whereby men allocate parental investment in proportion to cues of the likelihood of paternity. Extending their approach using a more realistic technique for manipulating facial resemblance and eliminating some of the confounds in their methodology, In the current study, I found that facial resemblance increased attractiveness judgments and hypothetical investment decisions, although the published sex difference was not found. This could not be explained by differences in resemblance between the participants and the morphed images because a separate group of participants could match the original adult images to the new morphs with slightly (but not significantly) greater accuracy than to morphs made using Platek et al.'s method. In addition, composite scores indicating positive regard toward an image were correlated with resemblance as judged by independent observers. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages12
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • facial resemblance
  • paternal uncertainty
  • sex differences
  • sex-differences
  • paternal resemblance
  • attractiveness
  • investment


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