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Alexandra Alvergne, Ryo Oda, Charlotte Faurie, Akiko Matsumoto-Oda, Valérie Durand, Michel Raymond; Cross-cultural perceptions of facial resemblance between kin. Journal of Vision 2009;9(6):23. doi: 10.1167/9.6.23.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Humans use facial comparisons to identify their relatives and adjust their behavior accordingly. However, the mechanisms underlying the assessment of facial similarities are poorly known. Here, we investigate the role of exposure to particular faces for the detection of facial similarities by asking judges to detect parent–child pairs using faces from different origins. In a first phase, French and Senegalese judges assessed facial resemblance in French and Senegalese families. In a second phase, Senegalese judges who had immigrated to France, as well as French and Senegalese stationary judges, were asked to rate a second set of Senegalese and French families. The judges showed no differences in their ability to detect parent–child pairs in French and Senegalese families in both the first and second phases. For judges who changed their country of residence, the answer time and duration of stay in the new country were not associated with correct assignment rates. Our results suggest that exposure has a limited role in the ability to process facial resemblance in others, which contrasts with facial recognition processing. We also discuss whether processing facial similarities is a by-product of the facial recognition system or an evolved ability to assess kinship relationships.
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