Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Brown, Mitch

Committee Member/Reader

Reeber, Joy

Committee Member/Second Reader

Vennarucci, Rhodora

Committee Member/Third Reader

Alwood, Nancy


Masculinized male faces have an ambivalent signal value, wherein perceivers recognize various coalitional benefits and costs. Within parenting domains, masculine men could afford protection toward their offspring despite potentially using more aggressive behaviors toward them. Nonetheless, the benefits of masculine fathers could be limited to their biological children while the costs toward stepchildren would be greater. Perceivers could develop implicit theories about parental behaviors as a visual corollary of the Cinderella Effect, or stepchildren’s greater vulnerability to abuse. Participants evaluated a series of masculinized and feminized male faces described as either biological parents or stepparents in domains related to positive and negative parenting behaviors. Masculine men appeared more prone to positive parenting behaviors, although this effect was larger when targets were framed as biological parents. Unexpectedly, masculine men were perceived as lone to negative behavior toward biological offspring. Facial structures did not influence perceptions of stepparents’ proclivity toward negative behavior. Results provide a nuanced understanding of implicit theories about Cinderella Effects based on a lack of parental investment toward stepchildren while acknowledging the competing signal value of attractiveness in these perceptions.


Parenting, Facial masculinity, Cinderella Effect, Social perception