Watkins CD, DeBruine LM, Smith FG, Jones BC, Vukovic J & Fraccaro PJ (2010). Like father, like self: Emotional closeness to father, but not mother, predicts women's preferences for self-resemblance in opposite-sex, but not same-sex, faces. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Eugene, Oregon. June 2010.

Inclusive fitness and optimal outbreeding theories highlight the importance of kin recognition for adaptive behavior. Familial imprinting and self-referential phenotype matching are two potential mechanisms for kin recognition that have been the focus of much research. While studies of human preferences for parental traits provide evidence for familial imprinting, studies of human preferences for computer-manipulated self-resemblance have been interpreted as evidence for self-referential phenotype matching. Because children resemble their parents, familial imprinting could influence preferences for self-resemblance. Here we show that women’s reported emotional closeness to their father, but not mother, is positively correlated with their preferences for self-resemblance in opposite-sex, but not same-sex, individuals. However, preferences for self-resemblance were greater for same-sex than opposite-sex individuals. Collectively, these findings implicate familial imprinting in preferences for self-resemblance in opposite-sex individuals and raise the possibility that familial imprinting and self-referential phenotype matching have context-specific effects on attitudes to self-resembling individuals.

Disclaimer: The information found and the views expressed in these homepages are not the responsibility of the University of Glasgow nor do they reflect institutional policy.