Fasolt V, Holzleitner IJ, Lee A, O'Shea KJ, Jones BC & DeBruine LM (2017). The Effect of Methodology in Third-Party Kin Recognition Research. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Boise, Idaho. May 2017.

Previous studies show that unrelated third parties can judge relatedness somewhat accurately based on facial appearance. Yet, findings differ in more nuanced aspects, such as the relevance of gender for kin recognition. This discrepancy could be the result of different methodologies used in prior studies. While some studies use a matching task in which participants match relatives’ faces from a selection of pictures, others use a similarity-rating task, in which participants rate the similarity between pairs of faces; and yet others use a relatedness judgment task, in which participants judge whether pairs of faces are related or not. The current series of studies employs all three methodologies to determine whether and how methodology might influence kinship judgments. Our findings show that relatedness is the main factor driving relatedness judgments. Additionally, gender had an effect in so far as same-sex pairs are perceived to be related more often than opposite-sex pairs.

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