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Patterns of Paternal Investment Predict Cross-Cultural Variation in Jealous Response

Scelza, B, Prall, S, Blumenfield, T, Crittenden, A, Gurven, M, Kline, M, Koster, J, Kushnick, G, Mattison, S, Pillworth, E, Shenk, M, Starweather, K, Stieglitz, J, Sum, C-Y, Yamaguchi, K and McElreath, R (2019) Patterns of Paternal Investment Predict Cross-Cultural Variation in Jealous Response. Nature Human Behaviour. ISSN 2397-3374

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Abstract

Long-lasting, romantic partnerships are a universal feature of human societies; but almost as ubiquitous is the risk of instability that comes when one partner strays. Jealous response to the threat of infidelity is a well-studied phenomenon, but most empirical work on the topic has focused on a proposed sex difference in the type of jealousy (sexual or emotional) men and women find most upsetting, rather than on how jealous response varies1,2. This stems in part from the predominance of studies using student samples from industrialized populations, which represent a relatively homogenous group in terms of age, life history stage, and social norms3,4. To better understand variation in partner jealousy, we conducted a two-part study in 11 populations (1,048 individuals), including eight small-scale societies, which examines how both sex and culture affect perceptions of infidelity. We show that, in spite of a robust sex difference, variation in jealous response is impacted more by the culture a respondent belongs to than by their sex. We further identify paternal investment and frequency of extramarital sex as two key predictors of cultural variation. Partner jealousy thus appears to be a facultative response, in part reflective of the variable risks and costs of men’s investment across societies.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2019 10:01
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 00:50
DOI or Identification number: 10.1038/s41562-019-0654-y
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10907

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