Mate retention behavior modulates men's preferences for self-resemblance in infant faces

Lisa L.M. Welling, Robert P. Burriss, David A. Puts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Visual assessments of relatedness may affect paternal investment decisions and altruistic behaviors. Work examining preferences for cues to self-resemblance in child faces has been equivocal, with findings showing that men have a higher preference than women, that preference for self-resemblance was statistically significant in women but not men, and that both men and women have a significant preference for self-resemblance when making parental investment decisions. Using data from 67 heterosexual romantic couples, we present evidence that both men and women prefer self-resembling infants, but show no significant preference for partner-resembling infants. Moreover, men's intersexual negative inducement tactics were correlated with, and significantly predicted, their preferences for self-resembling infants. These findings provide evidence that, although both men and women show a general preference for self-resemblance in infant faces, men's preferences for self-resemblance may be further modulated by perceived threat of cuckoldry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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