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De Bruine (2005) indeed showed that in the short-term but not in the long-term mating context, self-resemblance moderately decreased attractiveness ratings of opposite-sex faces. (2009) conversely found a preference for self-resembling faces in the short-term, but not the long-term context. Overall, the effect of the (instruction based) short-term vs. In consequence, participants may rate facial attractiveness identically in both cases, or tend to take other than physical (e.g., social) cues into account when performing the long-term attractiveness ratings, as was shown by Little et al. It seems more efficient to employ participants’ biosocial contexts to investigate the contrasting effects of disassortative and assortative mating preferences. (2011) showed that having male brothers increased women’s aversion to self-resembling opposite-sex faces, possibly due to stronger learning or motivation for incest-avoidance in women with many opposite-sex kin in her childhood surroundings. doi: 10.1016/S0190-1281(04)23006-2 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Li, N. A positive effect of self-resemblance on facial preferences was found in women with a positive emotional relationship with their father (Watkins et al., 2011), and preference for facial similarity was stronger during high progesterone phases of the menstrual cycle (De Bruine et al., 2005). Despite these potential biological benefits, studies on human mate choice demonstrate that, with the possible exception of odor preferences, positive rather than negative assortative preferences are the rule: many studies show morphological (Zajonc et al., 1987; Bereczkei et al., 2002; Little et al., 2006) as well as psychosocial (Keller et al., 1996; Buston and Emlen, 2003) similarity within couples (also termed ‘homogamy’). This is no less the case in terms of facial preference. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.20 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Little, A. We performed two studies, using transformations of facial photographs to manipulate levels of resemblance with the rater, to examine the influence of self-resemblance in single vs. Raters assessed facial attractiveness of other-sex and same-sex photographs according to both short-term and long-term relationship contexts. The results support the evolutionary interpretation that dissimilarity of other-sex faces is preferred by uncoupled individuals as an adaptive mechanism to avoid inbreeding. We found a preference for dissimilarity of other-sex and same-sex faces in single individuals, but no effect of self-resemblance in coupled raters. In contrast, lower dissimilarity preference of other-sex faces in coupled individuals may reflect suppressed attention to attractiveness cues in potential alternative partners as a relationship maintenance mechanism, and its substitution by attention to cues of kinship and psychological similarity connected with greater likelihood of prosocial behavior acquisition from such persons.
Koranyi and Rothermund (2012) conclude that reciprocal romantic interest eliminates the automatic attentional bias toward attractive opposite-sex faces. doi: 10.1016/20 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Leonetti, D. In addition, it was suggested that coupled individuals are more likely to derogate the attractiveness of others as an adaptive relationship maintenance mechanism (Maner et al., 2009). Following this line of argument, we propose that being in a romantic relationship also reduces the perceptual preference for dissimilar faces, which is in single individuals proposed to serve as a mechanism to avoid mating with kin and increase levels of heterozygosity of potential offspring. Field studies often show that support from kin is a dominant factor at least for women during their long-term partnership and regarding their reproductive success (e.g., Bereczkei, 1998; Leonetti et al., 2004). And second, cues of self-resemblance can be also favored in others reflecting the tendency to positive assortative pairing when choosing friends (Cohen, 1977; Kandel, 1978).