Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 156
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Burnstein, Eugene 2015. The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology.


    Krebs, Dennis L. 2008. Morality: An Evolutionary Account. Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 3, Issue. 3, p. 149.


    De Block, Andreas and Laing, Bart Du 2007. Paving the Way for an Evolutionary Social Constructivism. Biological Theory, Vol. 2, Issue. 4, p. 337.


    Fessler, Daniel M. T. 2007. Neglected Natural Experiments Germane to the Westermarck Hypothesis. Human Nature, Vol. 18, Issue. 4, p. 355.


    Richardson, Robert C. 2007. Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science.


    LEIBER, JUSTIN 2006. Instinctive Incest Avoidance: A Paradigm Case for Evolutionary Psychology Evaporates. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Vol. 36, Issue. 4, p. 369.


    Ager, Sheila L. 2005. Familiarity breeds: incest and the Ptolemaic dynasty. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 125, p. 1.


    Rushton, J. Philippe 2005. Ethnic nationalism, evolutionary psychology and Genetic Similarity Theory*. Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 11, Issue. 4, p. 489.


    Fessler, Daniel M.T. and Navarrete, C.David 2004. Third-party attitudes toward sibling incest. Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 25, Issue. 5, p. 277.


    Qirko, Hector 2004. Altruistic Celibacy, Kin-Cue Manipulation, and The Development of Religious Institutions. Zygon(r), Vol. 39, Issue. 3, p. 681.


    Bereczkei, Tamás Gyuris, Petra Köves, Panna and Bernáth, László 2003. Homogámia, genetikai hasonlóság, imprinting.. Magyar Pszichológiai Szemle, Vol. 58, Issue. 4, p. 473.


    Bereczkei, T Gyuris, P Koves, P and Bernath, L 2002. Homogamy, genetic similarity, and imprinting; parental influence on mate choice preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 33, Issue. 5, p. 677.


    Rice, Marnie E. and Harris, Grant T. 2002. Men who molest their sexually immature daughters: is a special explanation required?. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 111, Issue. 2, p. 329.


    Bittles, A.H. 2001. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences.


    SIMPSON, JEFFRY A. and GANGESTAD, STEVEN W. 2001. Evolution and relationships: A call for integration. Personal Relationships, Vol. 8, Issue. 4, p. 341.


    2000. Sex Differences.


    Haig, David 1999. Asymmetric Relations. Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 83.


    MOREHEAD, DANIEL 1999. OEDIPUS, DARWIN, AND FREUD: ONE BIG, HAPPY FAMILY?. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vol. LXVIII, Issue. 3, p. 347.


    Quinsey, Vernon L. Lalumière, Martin L. Querée, Matthew and McNaughton, Jennifer K. 1999. Perceived crime severity and biological kinship. Human Nature, Vol. 10, Issue. 4, p. 399.


    Walter, Alex 1997. The evolutionary psychology of mate selection in Morocco. Human Nature, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 113.


    ×

Human inbreeding avoidance: Culture in nature

  • Pierre L. van den Berghe (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00014850
  • Published online: 01 February 2010
Abstract
Abstract

Much clinical and ethnographic evidence suggests that humans, like many other organisms, are selected to avoid close inbreeding because of the fitness costs of inbreeding depression. The proximate mechanism of human inbreeding avoidance seems to be precultural, and to involve the interaction of genetic predispositions and environmental conditions. As first suggested by E. Westermarck, and supported by evidence from Israeli kibbutzim, Chinese sim-pua marriage, and much convergent ethnographic and clinical evidence, humans negatively imprint on intimate associates during a critical period of early childhood (between ages 2 and 6).

There is also much evidence that, like other social animals, humans do not seek to maximize outbreeding, but rather to maintain an optimal balance between outbreeding and inbreeding. Close inbreeding reduces fitness through inbreeding depression, but some inbreeding brings the benefits of nepotism. For simple, stateless, horticultural societies, the optimal balance seems to be achieved by a combination of precultural inbreeding avoidance of relatives with an r ≤·25 and cultural rules of preferential marriage with kin with r ≥·25. Adjustment of the coefficient of inbreeding to other ecological settings seems to be largely cultural. An interactive model of “culture in nature” is presented, in which culture is seen as coevolving with genes to produce the maxiniization of individual inclusive fitness.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D. F. Aberle , U. Bronfenbrenner , E. H. Hess , D. R. Miller , D. M. Schneider & J. M. Spuhler (1963) The incest taboo and the mating patterns of animals. American Anthropologist 65: 253–65. [taPLvdB]

R. D. Alexander (1974) The evolution of social behavior. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 5: 325–83. [WI]

P. Bateson (1978) Sexual imprinting and optimal outbreeding. Nature 273: 659-60. [PB, RHB, MD, RD, taPLvdB]

P. Bateson (1979) How do sensitive periods arise and what are they for? Animal Bchaviour 27: 470–86. [PB]

P. Bateson (1980) Optimal outbreeding and the development of sexual preferences in Japanese quail. Zcitschrift für Tierpsychologie 53: 231–44. [PB]

M. Bekoff (1981) Mammalian sibling interactions: Genes, facilitative environments, and the coefficient of familiarity. In: Parental care in mammals, ed. D. V. Gubernick & P. H. Klopfer , pp. 307–46. Plenum Press. [RHB]

B. O. Bengtsson (1978) Avoiding incest – at what cost? Journal of Theoretical Biology 73: 439–44. [MEL]

R. H. Bixler (1981a) Incest avoidance as a function of environment and heredity. Current Anthropology 22: 639–43. [taPLvdB]

H. H. Bixler (1981b) The incest controversy. Psychological Reports 49: 267–83. [RHB, PKS. taPLvdB]

H. H. Bixler (1981c) Primate mother-son “incest”. Psychological Reports 48: 531–36. [RHB, taPLvdB]

D. T. Campbell (1975) On the conflicts between biological and social evolution and between psychology and moral tradition. American Psychologist 30: 1103–26. [DGF]

W. R. Centerwall , G. Savarinathan , L. R. Mohan , V. Booshanan & M. Zachariah (1969) Inbreeding patterns in rural South India. Social Biology 16: 8191. [AHB]

R. Chakraborty & A. Chakravarti (1977) On consanguineous marriages and the genetic load. Human Genetics 36: 4754. [AHB]

E. L. Charnov (1979) Simultaneous hermaphorditism and sexual selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 76: 2480–84. [MEL]

M. Dickemann (1979a) The ecology of mating systems in hypcrgyimomms dowry Societies. Social Science Information 18: 163–95. [CSL, rPLvdB]

K. R. Dronamnraju & Khan P. Meera (1963) The frequency and effects of consanguineous marriages in Andhra Pradesh. Journal of Genetics 58: 387401. [AHB]

D. Finkelhor (1980) Sex among siblings. Archives of Sexual Behavior 9: 171–94. [taPLvdB]

R. Fox (1962) Sibling incest. British Journal of Sociology 13: 128–50. [taPLvdB]

D. G. Freedman & N. A. Freedman (1969) Differences in behavior between newborn Chinese-American and European-American newborns. Nature 224: 1227. [DGF]

J. Goody (1956) A comparative approach to incest and adultery. British journal of Sociology 7: 286305.[taPLvdB]

S. J. Gould & R. C. Lewontin (1979) The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 205: 581–98. [FBL]

A. Grafen (1982) How not to measure inclusive fitness. Nature 298: 425-26.[RD]

J. H. Greenberg (1947) Islam and clan organization among the Hausa. Southwestern journal of Anthropology 3: 195211. [taPLvdB]

W. D. Hamilton (1964) The genetical evolution of social behaviour. journal of Theoretical Biology 7: 152. [RD, DGF, taPLvdB]

D. O. Hebb (1958) A textbook of psychology. Saunders. [taPLvdB]

C. H. Hendricks (1955) Congenital malformations: Analysis of the 1953 Ohio records. Obstetrics and Cynecology 6: 592–98. [AHB]

A. Jacquard (1974) The genetic structure of populations. Springer.[JS, rPLvdB]

S. K. Jain (1976) The evolution of inbreeding in plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 7: 469–95. [MEL]

M. Kaffman (1977) Sexual standards and behavior of the kibbutz adolescent. American journal of Orthopsychiatry 47: 207–17. [FBL]

F. C. Keil (1981) Constraints on knowledge and cognitive development. Psychological Review 88: 197227. [CJL]

P. Kunstadter , R. Buhler , F. F. Stephen & C. F. Westoff (1964) Demographic variability and preferential marriage patterns. American journal of Physical Anthropology 21: 511–19. [JS]

H. Lindelius (1980) Effects of parental consanguinity on mortality and reproductive function. Human Heredity 30: 185–91. [AHB]

F. B. Livingstone (1969) Genetics, ecology, and the origins of incest and exogamy. Current Anthropology 10: 4561. [taPLvdB]

D. G. Lloyd (1979) Some reproductive factors affecting the selection of self- fertilization in plants. American Naturalist 113: 6779. [MEL]

J. F. McLennan (1865) Primitice marriage. Black. [taPLvdB]

K. Mather (1943) Polygenic inheritance and natural selection. Biological Reviews 18: 3264. [PB]

R. Middleton (1962) Brother-sister and father-daughter marriage in ancient Egypt. American Sociological Review 27: 603–11. [taPLvdB]

P. C. Mundinger (1980) Animal cultures and a general theory of cultural evolution. Ethology and Sociobiology 1: 183223. [GCW]

Newsweek (1981) An epidemic of incest. M. J. Orlove (1975) A Model of kin selection not invoking coefficients of relationship. Journal of Theoretical Biology 49: 289310. [RD]

C. Packer (1979) Inter-troop transfer and inbreeding avoidance in Papio anubis. Animal Behaviour 27: 136.[RHB, taPLvdB]

T. Parsons (1954) The incest taboo in relation to social structure and the socialization of the child. British Journal of Sociology 5: 101–7.[JS]

M. V. Price & N. M. Waser (1979) Pollen dispersal and optimal outcrossing in Delphinium nelsoni. Nature 277: 294–97.[MD]

P. S. S. Rao & S. G. Inbaraj (1977a) Inbreeding effects on human reproduction in Tamil Nadu of South India. Annals of Human Genetics 41:8798. [AHB]

P. S. S. Rao & S. G. Inbaraj (1977b) Inbreeding in Tamil Nadu, South India. Social Biology 24: 281–88. [AHB]

P. S. S. Rao & S. G. Inbaraj (1979a) Inbreeding effects on fertility and sterility in Southern India. Journal of Medical Genetics 16: 2431.[AHB]

P. S. S. Rao & S. G. Inbaraj (1980) Inbreeding effects on fetal growth and development. Journal of Medical Genetics 17: 2733. [AHB]

M. Ruse (1981) What kind of revolution occurred in geology? In: PSA, 1978, 2, ed. I. Hacking . Philosophy of Science Association. [MR]

L. D. Sanghvi (1966) Inbreeding in India. Eugenics Quarterly 13: 291301. ]AHB]

E. Scemanova (1971) A study of children of incestuous matings. Human Heredity 21: 108–28. [AHB, FBL, tarPLvdB]

B. A. Seligman (1950) lncest and exogamy, a reconsideration. American Anthropologist 52: 305–16. [taPLvdB]

J. Shepher (1971a) Mate selection among second generation kibbutz adolescents and adults: Incest avoidance and negative imprinting. Archives of Sexual Behavior 1: 293307. [PB, taPLvdB]

P. L. van den Berghse (1960) Hypergamy, hypergenation and miscegenation. Human Relations 13: 8391. [rPLvdB]

(1980) Incest and exogamy: A sociobiological reconsideration. Ethology and Sociobiology 1: 151–62. [tarPLvdB]

P. L. van den Berghe & G. Mesher (1980) Royal incest and inclusive fitness. American Ethnologist 7: 300317. [CSL, PKS, tarPLvdB]

L. A. White (1948) The definitiois and prohibition of incest. American Anthropologist 50: 416–35. [CJL, taPLvdB]

E. O. Wilson (1978) On human nature. Harvard University Press. [taPLvdB]

A. P. Wolf (1966) Childlsood association, sexual attraction, and the incest taboo: A Chinese case.American Anthropologist 68: 883–98. [WJD, taPLvdB]

A. P. Wolf (1970) Childhood association and sexual attraction: A further test of the Westermarck hypothesis. American Anthropologist 72: 503–15. [WJ D, taPLvdB]

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: