Fasolt V, Holzleitner IJ, O'Shea KJ, Lee A, Jones BC & DeBruine LM (2018). Children resemble women more than men, regardless of kinship status. European Evolution and Human Behaviour Association in Pécs, Hungary. April 2018.

Objectives: Unrelated third parties can judge kinship with some accurately from facial appearance alone. However, evidence is mixed on the relevance of gender and age to kinship detection. Previous studies have variously reported increased resemblance or kinship detection between father-child pairs, mother-child pairs, mother-daughter and father-son pairs, or woman-child pairs, with some effects increasing or decreasing with child age. Here we investigate the role of adult and child gender and child age on kinship judgments. Methods: Raters viewed 240 pairs of photographs of one adult and one child (age 2-18), and indicated whether each pair was related or unrelated. Half of the pairs were related parent-child pairs and half were age- and gender-matched unrelated adult-child pairs. No image was shown more than once, related pairs were not related to any other image in the study, and individuals from unrelated pairs were not related to any other image in the study. Results: We used binomial logistic mixed effects modelling to predict kinship judgments from relatedness, adult gender, child gender, and child age (with image pair and rater as random factors). Relatedness was the main factor driving kinship judgments; parent child-pairs were more than twice as likely as unrelated pairs to be judged as kin. Raters were more likely to judge woman-child pairs as kin than man-child pairs, regardless of the actual kinship of the pair. This effect was qualified by an interaction with child age and was larger for older children. Kinship judgments were unaffected by child gender or its interaction with adult gender. Conclusions: These findings indicate that adult gender biases kinship judgments, but not the accuracy of kinship judgments, especially for older children. This can not be explained by younger children resembling women more than men because of their neotenous facial features, as previously hypothesized.

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