ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 476-485.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00476

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Father-child facial resemblance as a mechanism for evolutionary adaptation and its impacts

YU Quanlei1,2,3, CHEN Jianwen4, TAN Xiujuan5,6, DENG Xuefei4, ZHAO Qingbai3(), ZHOU Zhijin3()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Wuhan 430079, China
    2 Central China Normal University Branch, Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment toward Basic Education Quality, Wuhan 430079, China
    3 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
    4 Graduate School of Education, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
    5 School of Educational Science, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen 041000, China
    6 Faculty of Psychology, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, China
  • Received:2019-05-10 Online:2020-03-15 Published:2020-01-18
  • Contact: ZHAO Qingbai,ZHOU Zhijin;


Due to the characteristics of internal fertilization, human fertilization, to a certain extent, is concealed. Meanwhile, adultery existed in early human society. Therefore, males suffer from the uncertainty that their putative children may not be their biological offspring, which is paternal uncertainty. To cope with this uncertainty, males are unconsciously looking for cues that might indicate a genetic similarity between them and their offspring. Among these cues, the facial resemblance is one of the indirect ways that males could infer if there is a biological connection in terms of fatherhood. Three methods are there to measure facial resemblance, including morph software synthesis, third-party rating, and self-rating. Previous studies have shown that the more similar the facial characteristics between a father and his offspring are, the more paternal resources the father would be willing to invest during parenthood. The less anxious and healthier a father is during parenthood, the higher sexual aversion a father would experience in the relationship with their children. The present research suggested three directions for future studies. First, it is valuable to look at the cultural differences in the impacts of father-child facial resemblance. Second, in order to enhance its internal and external validity, future work can adopt new methods to assess the father-child facial resemblance. Last, it would be an exciting direction to explore the relationship between the subjective assessments and the objective assessments of father-child facial resemblance.

Key words: parent-child facial resemblance, uncertainty of paternity, parental investment, culture, gender