Not only dogs resemble their owners, cars do, too

Stefan Stieger*, Martin Voracek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

4 Citations (Scopus)


Research has found that raters are able to match dogs with their owners at above-chance rates, even with controls for size or hairiness (Roy & Christenfeld, 2004). This suggests that dogs, to some extent, resemble their owners. We conducted three studies (with 160, 130, and 201 raters) and showed that this resemblance effect generalizes to cars (sets of one picture of the front view of a car and frontal headshots of six possible owners). Specifically, raters were better than chance at matching car owners to front views of their cars, but not to side or back views of their cars. Alternative explanations for this novel effect (e.g., sex stereotypes related to car type or masculine vs. feminine car looks) were successively ruled out. Furthermore, not only did cars resemble their owners, but cars also resembled the owners' dogs (when they were purebreds). This suggests that matching owners to their cars cannot entirely be explained by stereotypes. In addition, facial features may account for the reported effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalSwiss Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cars
  • Dogs
  • Facial features
  • Resemblance
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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