DeBruine LM (2005). Facial resemblance and kin recognition: Context-specific effects of 'mere' exposure. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Evolutionary Psychology Pre-Conference in New Orleans, LA, USA. January 2005.

Studies using computer graphics to manipulate facial resemblance to participants have demonstrated behaviors and preferences consistent with the use of facial resemblance as a cue of kinship. Consistent with predictions from inclusive fitness theory, people favour individuals represented by resembling faces in an economic game. Kinship cues are sensitive to contexts in which the adaptive response should be different. Although self-resemblance increases the perceived "averageness" of both male and female faces, self-resemblance increases the attractiveness of same-sex faces only. Additionally, self-resemblance of other-sex faces increases attributions of trustworthiness, has no effect on attractiveness for a long-term relationship, and decreases attractiveness for a short-term relationship. Although responses to facial resemblance undoubtedly require visual experience with one's own or family members' faces, non-adaptive hypotheses explaining these results as simple byproducts of general perceptual mechanisms (e.g. the mere exposure effect) are not supported. Responses to facial resemblance seem best interpreted as evidence of specialized adaptations to the problems of kin recognition in the domains of mate choice and prosocial behaviour.

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