Kinship recognition by unrelated observers depends on implicit and explicit cognitionEvolutionary Psychology 10(2): 210-224
Previous studies have shown that neutral observers are able to identify kinship in strangers by matching photographs of children with their parents. We asked whether this ability depended on implicit and/or explicit cognitive processes. Fifty unrelated male observers viewed triads of photographs (one woman in her early 20’s and two older women) and had to select which of the two older women was the mother, and rate their confidence in their decision. Observers identified 62.5% of mother-daughter pairs correctly (p < .001). Signal detection analyses showed that confidence was related to accuracy (d’ = .28) and observers could report the cues they utilized. However, those who failed to show a relationship between confidence and accuracy (d’ ≤ 0) still performed significantly above chance, and both confidence and d’ decreased over trials whereas accuracy did not. Results show that neutral observers spontaneously used both explicit and implicit cognitive processes in the task. Recognition of kinship by neutral observers may be a task which allows the interplay between explicit and implicit cognition for a system relevant to ancestral social environments to be observed in the laboratory.
kin recognition, facial perception, implicit cognition, explicit cognition