Strathie, A, Hughes‐White, N and Laurence, SK (2021) The sibling familiarity effect: Is within‐person facial variability shared across siblings? British Journal of Psychology. ISSN 0007-1269

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Humans are experts at familiar face recognition, but poor at unfamiliar face recognition. Familiarity is created when a face is encountered across varied conditions, but the way in which a person’s appearance varies is identity-specific, so familiarity with one identity does not benefit recognition of other individuals. However, the faces of biological siblings share structural similarities, so we explored whether the benefits of familiarity are shared across siblings. Results show that familiarity with one half of a sibling pair improves kin detection (experiment 1), and that unfamiliar face matching is more accurate when targets are the siblings of familiar versus unfamiliar individuals (experiment 2). PCA applied to facial images of celebrities and their siblings demonstrates that faces are generally better reconstructed in the principal components of a same-sex sibling than those of an unrelated individual. When we encounter the unfamiliar sibling of someone we already know, our pre-existing representation of their familiar relation may usefully inform processing of the unfamiliar face. This can benefit both kin detection and identity processing, but the benefits are constrained by the degree to which facial variability is shared.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution andreproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: face matching; face recognition; kin detection; familiarity; variability
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF660 Comparative psychology. Animal and human psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 13:13
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2021 13:38

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