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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Birth order does not affect ability to detect kin
Author(s): Fasolt, Vanessa
Holzleitner, Iris J
Lee, Anthony J
O'Shea, Kieran J
DeBruine, Lisa M
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Keywords: kinship
face perception
allocentric kin recognition
facial resemblance
birth order
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: Fasolt V, Holzleitner IJ, Lee AJ, O'Shea KJ & DeBruine LM (2019) Birth order does not affect ability to detect kin. Collabra: Psychology, 5 (1), Art. No.: 35.
Abstract: Previous studies suggest that birth order affects kinship detection ability. Kaminski et al. (2010) argued that firstborns use contextual cues (e.g. maternal perinatal association) to assess kinship in their own family, leading to a disadvantage in assessing kinship from facial cues alone in strangers. In contrast, laterborns do not have the contextual cue of maternal perinatal association and hence rely more on facial cues, leading to an advantage in detecting kin from facial cues alone. However, Alvergne et al. (2010) found no evidence in support of such a birthorder effect. The current study aimed to replicate previous studies with better suited methods to determine the effect of birth order on kin recognition. 109 raters viewed 132 pairs of photographs of children (aged 3-17 years), and indicated whether each pair was related or unrelated. Half of the pairs were sibling pairs and half were unrelated child pairs that were age- and gender- matched to the related pairs. No image was shown more than once, related pairs were not known to be related to any other image in the study, and individuals from unrelated pairs were not known to be related to any other image. We used binomial logistic mixed effects modelling to predict kinship judgments from relatedness and birth order (with image pair and rater as random factors). Relatedness was the main factor driving kinship judgments; related child-pairs were more than twice as likely as unrelated pairs to be judged as kin. Kinship judgment accuracy was unaffected by rater birth order. These findings indicate that laterborns did not have an advantage in detecting child sibling pairs. Pre-registration, data, code, and preprint available at
DOI Link: 10.1525/collabra.235
Rights: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright retained by authors.
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