The research aimed to examine whether people are capable of correctly identifying children from a set of possible parents. The independent variable in this study was photographs of children at age 1, 10 and 20 years old and three photographs of possible parents of that child. The dependent variable was ability to correctly identify the biological parent of each child. These variables were operationalised as percentage of participants who gave the correct biological parent the highest resemblance rating, on a scale from one to ten.
This was study was quasi-experimental research, based on an evolutionary rationale that it is advantageous for babies to look like their fathers in order to instill confidence in the father that the child belongs to him, thus ensuring resources necessary for the babies survival will be provided. Twenty-four Caucasian families each provided photographs of children at age one, ten and twenty. Half of these families provided photographs of male children, the other half female children. In addition, families provided photographs of the child’s father and mother, taken in the same year as when the children was one, ten and twenty years old. The sample consisted of 122 neutral judges where asked to rate the resemblance (on a 0 to 10 scale of increasing resemblance) between a black and white photo of a child and three separate photographs of possible mother’s or fathers, one of whom was the child’s true mother or father. Each combination of photographs was rated by between 18 and 21 participants and the order of the stimulus pictures, the three possible matches and the three child ages were counterbalanced.
In review of the studies introduction, overall it is far too short and fails to review past literature on the topic. As such, it arrives haphazardly at a poorly defined research question; “can people pick the correct progenitors from sets of possible parents?” and does not provide any specific hypothesis to address (Christenfeld & Hill, 1995). The researchers reveal the conclusions of the paper directly following the research question with minimal attempt to explain the relevance and necessity for this research. Further, whilst Chirstenfeld and Hill (1995) attempted to raise the issue of controlling for bias of outcomes by using independent judges, greater communication of this issue was required. The selection process, gender, ethnicity, age and any other relevant demographics of participants were not discussed which may have affected the reliability of these results. For example, as all the photographic stimuli used was of Caucasian individuals, all participants would need to also be Caucasian in order to control for the own-race-effect which is the tendency for people of a particular race to find recognizing and processing facial features of another race more difficult then their own (REF). Conversely, the use of only Caucasian stimuli limits the studies generalisability on a global scale.
Issues of bias and...