Facial resemblance exaggerates sex-specific jealousy-based decisionsEvolutionary Psychology 5(1): 223-231
Sex differences in reaction to a romantic partner’s infidelity are well documented and are hypothesized to be attributable to sex-specific jealousy mechanisms which are utilized to solve adaptive problems associated with risk of extra-pair copulation. Males, because of the risk of cuckoldry become more upset by sexual infidelity, while females, because of loss of resources and biparental investment tend to become more distressed by emotional infidelity. However, the degree to which these sex-specific reactions to jealousy interact with cues to kin are completely unknown. Here we investigated the interaction of facial resemblance with decisions about sex-specific jealousy scenarios. Fifty nine volunteers were asked to imagine that two different people (represented by facial composites) informed them about their romantic partner’s sexual or emotional infidelity. Consistent with previous research, males ranked sexual infidelity scenarios as most upsetting and females ranked emotional infidelity scenarios most upsetting. However, when information about the infidelity was provided by a face that resembled the subject, sex-specific reactions to jealousy were exaggerated. This finding highlights the use of facial resemblance as a putative self-referent phenotypic matching cue that impacts trusting behavior in sexual contexts.
romantic jealousy, cognition, sex differences, kin selection, facial resemblance