Kin recognition signals in adult faces

Vision Res. 2009 Jan;49(1):38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2008.09.025. Epub 2008 Nov 7.


Maloney and Dal Martello [Maloney, L.T., Dal Martello, M.F. (2006). Kin recognition and the perceived facial similarity of children. Journal of Vision, 6(10), 1047-1056.] reported that similarity ratings of pairs of related and unrelated children were almost perfect predictors of the probability that those children were judged as being siblings by a second group of observers. Surprisingly, similarity ratings were poor predictors of whether a pair was same-sex or opposite-sex, suggesting that people ignore cues that are uninformative about kinship when making similarity judgments of faces. Using adult sibling faces, we find that similarity ratings for same-sex pairs were significantly higher than for opposite-sex pairs, suggesting that similarity judgments of adult faces are not entirely synonymous with kinship judgments.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cues*
  • Face*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Psychophysics
  • Twins