Because appropriate responses to kin differ depending on context, social perception of facial resemblance (a cue of genetic relatedness) should be highly context-sensitive. In this chapter we review experimental evidence using computer-manipulated faces to show context-sensitive social perception of facial resemblance. Collectively, these experiments demonstrate that facial resemblance enhances prosocial behavior and attributions, while decreasing sexual attractiveness. Such context-sensitive responses to facial resemblance are consistent with inclusive fitness theory and considerations of the costs of inbreeding and are difficult to explain in terms of simple responses to familiarity (i.e. mere exposure). These findings support the existence of specialized kin recognition mechanisms for responding to facial resemblance.
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