Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looks Just Like Me!

Interesting.  Men fool themselves, because it's adaptive.  And it's not like the woman is going to say anything... "Yes, honey, he has your nose! And so did the mailman!"

Fathers See Stronger Family Resemblances than Non-Fathers in Unrelated Children’s Faces

Paola Bressan & Stefania Dal Pos
Archives of Sexual Behavior, December 2012, Pages 1423-1430

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.

Nod to Kevin Lewis


Zachary said...

Well this is just depressing. Glad I read it anyway... Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic, sort of: I recall reading of a proposed longitudinal study 1950's having to be abandoned when blood tests failed to support progeny lineage in sizeable proportion of population. The only individuals with this knowledge were the scientists involved and - I assume - the female parent. You know - post war and all that!

Tom said...

Ergo, wifely faithfulness is historically so high that paternal doubt is a statistically significant determent. Cool.