Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Dec;41(6):1423-30. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9983-x. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Fathers see stronger family resemblances than non-fathers in unrelated children's faces.

Author information

  • 1Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Universit√† di Padova, Via Venezia 8, 35131, Padua, Italy. paola.bressan@unipd.it

Abstract

Even after they have taken all reasonable measures to decrease the probability that their spouses cheat on them, men still face paternal uncertainty. Such uncertainty can lead to paternal disinvestment, which reduces the children's probability to survive and reproduce, and thus the reproductive success of the fathers themselves. A theoretical model shows that, other things being equal, men who feel confident that they have fathered their spouses' offspring tend to enjoy greater fitness (i.e., leave a larger number of surviving progeny) than men who do not. This implies that fathers should benefit from exaggerating paternal resemblance. We argue that the self-deceiving component of this bias could be concealed by generalizing this resemblance estimation boost to (1) family pairs other than father-child and (2) strangers. Here, we tested the prediction that fathers may see, in unrelated children's faces, stronger family resemblances than non-fathers. In Study 1, 70 men and 70 women estimated facial resemblances between children paired, at three different ages (as infants, children, and adolescents), either to themselves or to their parents. In Study 2, 70 men and 70 women guessed the true parents of the same children among a set of adults. Men who were fathers reported stronger similarities between faces than non-fathers, mothers, and non-mothers did, but were no better at identifying childrens' real parents. We suggest that, in fathers, processing of facial resemblances is biased in a manner that reflects their (adaptive) wishful thinking that fathers and children are related.

PMID:
22695644
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk