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Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective

Justin K Mogilski, Lisa L M Welling
Sexual dimorphism, symmetry, and coloration in human faces putatively signal information relevant to mate selection and reproduction. Although the independent contributions of these characteristics to judgments of attractiveness are well established, relatively few studies have examined whether individuals prioritize certain features over others. Here, participants (N = 542, 315 female) ranked six sets of facial photographs (3 male, 3 female) by their preference for starting long- and short-term romantic relationships with each person depicted...
October 17, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Jan Verpooten, Siegfried Dewitte
Two major mechanisms of aesthetic evolution have been suggested. One focuses on naturally selected preferences (Evolutionary Aesthetics), while the other describes a process of evaluative coevolution whereby preferences coevolve with signals. Signaling theory suggests that expertise moderates these mechanisms. In this article we set out to verify this hypothesis in the domain of art and use it to elucidate Western modern art's deviation from naturally selected preferences. We argue that this deviation is consistent with a Coevolutionary Aesthetics mechanism driven by prestige-biased social learning among art experts...
October 4, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Benjamin Campbell
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 29, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Ryan Schacht, Douglas Tharp, Ken R Smith
The negative social outcomes in populations with male-biased sex ratios are a growing concern. In general, the expectation is of heightened violence as a result of excess men engaging in antisocial behavior and crime, thereby threatening societal stability. While intuitive, these claims are largely unsupported in the literature. Using mating market theory as our guide, we examine indicators of male mating effort, including (1) violent competition between men (homicide, aggravated assault) and (2) indicators of uncommitted sexual behavior (rape, sex offenses, and prostitution)...
September 28, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Gert Stulp, Rebecca Sear, Susan B Schaffnit, Melinda C Mills, Louise Barrett
Studies of the association between wealth and fertility in industrial populations have a rich history in the evolutionary literature, and they have been used to argue both for and against a behavioral ecological approach to explaining human variability. We consider that there are strong arguments in favor of measuring fertility (and proxies thereof) in industrial populations, not least because of the wide availability of large-scale secondary databases. Such data sources bring challenges as well as advantages, however...
September 26, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Gert Stulp, Rebecca Sear, Louise Barrett
Is fertility relevant to evolutionary analyses conducted in modern industrial societies? This question has been the subject of a highly contentious debate, beginning in the late 1980s and continuing to this day. Researchers in both evolutionary and social sciences have argued that the measurement of fitness-related traits (e.g., fertility) offers little insight into evolutionary processes, on the grounds that modern industrial environments differ so greatly from those of our ancestral past that our behavior can no longer be expected to be adaptive...
September 26, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Siobhán M Mattison, Rebecca Sear
Evolutionary anthropology has traditionally focused on the study of small-scale, largely self-sufficient societies. The increasing rarity of these societies underscores the importance of such research yet also suggests the need to understand the processes by which such societies are being lost-what we call "modernization"-and the effects of these processes on human behavior and biology. In this article, we discuss recent efforts by evolutionary anthropologists to incorporate modernization into their research and the challenges and rewards that follow...
September 10, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
David A Nolin, John P Ziker
In the face of economic and political changes following the end of the Soviet Union, total fertility rates fell significantly across the post-Soviet world. In this study we examine the dramatic fertility transition in one community in which the total fertility rate fell from approximately five children per woman before 1993 to just over one child per woman a decade later. We apply hypotheses derived from evolutionary ecology and demography to the question of fertility transition in the post-Soviet period, focusing on an indigenous community (Ust'-Avam) in the Taimyr Region, northern Russia...
September 5, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Kristin Snopkowski
Serial monogamy is likely an adaptive mating strategy for women when the expected future fitness gains with a different partner are greater than expected future fitness with one's current partner. Using interview data from more than 400 women in San Borja, Bolivia, discrete-time event history analyses and random effects regression analyses were conducted to examine predictors of marital dissolution, separated by remarriage status, and child educational outcomes. Male income was found to be inversely associated with women's risk of "divorce and remarriage," whereas female income is positively associated with women's risk of "divorce, but not remarriage...
August 19, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Bria Dunham
Human childbirth is distinct in requiring-or at least strongly profiting from-the assistance of a knowledgeable attendant to support the mother during birth. With economic modernization, the role of that attendant is transformed, and increased access to obstetric interventions may bring biomedicine into conflict with anatomical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations for childbirth. This article provides an overview of the role of midwifery in human evolution and ways in which this evolutionary heritage is reflected in home birth in the contemporary United States...
August 17, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Montserrat Soler
Despite secular trends in some countries, prestige-based authority in the form of religious leadership remains hugely influential in the everyday lives of millions of people around the world. Here, the costs and benefits of religious leadership are explored in an urban setting in northeastern Brazil. An economic game, within-group cooperation questionnaires, and social network analyses were carried out among adherents of an Afro-Brazilian religion. Results reveal that leaders display high levels of religious commitment and disproportionally provide cooperative services to group members...
August 10, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Karen Wu, Chuansheng Chen, Robert K Moyzis, Ellen Greenberger, Zhaoxia Yu
We examined an understudied but potentially important source of romantic attraction-genetics-using a speed-dating paradigm. The mu opioid receptor (OPRM1) polymorphism A118G (rs1799971) and the serotonin receptor (HTR2A) polymorphism -1438 A/G (rs6311) were studied because they have been implicated in social affiliation. Guided by the social role theory of mate selection and prior genetic evidence, we examined these polymorphisms' gender-specific associations with speed-dating success (i.e., date offers, mate desirability)...
September 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Luseadra McKerracher, Mark Collard, Joseph Henrich
Women often experience novel food aversions and cravings during pregnancy. These appetite changes have been hypothesized to work alongside cultural strategies as adaptive responses to the challenges posed by pregnancy (e.g., maternal immune suppression). Here, we report a study that assessed whether data from an indigenous population in Fiji are consistent with the predictions of this hypothesis. We found that aversions focus predominantly on foods expected to exacerbate the challenges of pregnancy. Cravings focus on foods that provide calories and micronutrients while posing few threats to mothers and fetuses...
September 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Hervey C Peoples, Pavel Duda, Frank W Marlowe
Recent studies of the evolution of religion have revealed the cognitive underpinnings of belief in supernatural agents, the role of ritual in promoting cooperation, and the contribution of morally punishing high gods to the growth and stabilization of human society. The universality of religion across human society points to a deep evolutionary past. However, specific traits of nascent religiosity, and the sequence in which they emerged, have remained unknown. Here we reconstruct the evolution of religious beliefs and behaviors in early modern humans using a global sample of hunter-gatherers and seven traits describing hunter-gatherer religiosity: animism, belief in an afterlife, shamanism, ancestor worship, high gods, and worship of ancestors or high gods who are active in human affairs...
September 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Nicole Barbaro, Todd K Shackelford, Viviana A Weekes-Shackelford
Human life history is unique among primates, most notably the extraordinary length of infant dependency and the formation of long-term pair-bonds. Men and women are motivated to remain pair-bonded to maintain the distribution of male-provisioned resources to a woman and her offspring, or to protect offspring from infanticide. Men and women can employ several strategies to retain their mate and prevent their partner from defecting from the relationship, including individual mate retention (behaviors performed alone) and coalitional mate retention (behaviors performed by a close ally)...
September 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Aiyana K Willard, Joseph Henrich, Ara Norenzayan
Cognitive scientists have increasingly turned to cultural transmission to explain the widespread nature of religion. One key hypothesis focuses on memory, proposing that that minimally counterintuitive (MCI) content facilitates the transmission of supernatural beliefs. We propose two caveats to this hypothesis. (1) Memory effects decrease as MCI concepts become commonly used, and (2) people do not believe counterintuitive content readily; therefore additional mechanisms are required to get from memory to belief...
September 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Scott W Semenyna, Paul L Vasey
Previous research has found that sex differences in occupational preferences are both substantial and cross-culturally universal. Androphilic males tend to display "gender-shifted" occupational preferences, with relatively female-typical interests. Past research has overwhelmingly relied on Western samples; this article offers new insights from a non-Western setting. Known locally as fa'afafine, androphilic males in Samoa occupy a third-gender category. Data were collected in Samoa from 103 men, 103 women, and 103 fa'afafine regarding occupational preferences and recalled childhood gender nonconformity (CGN)...
September 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Geoff Kushnick, Daniel M T Fessler, Fikarwin Zuska
Among the Karo of Indonesia, the frequency of matrilateral cross-cousin (impal) marriage has declined in recent decades. We conducted a vignette experiment to assess the contributions of a handful of factors in shaping this pattern. Surprisingly, we found that cosocialization of a hypothetical woman with her impal led to increased judgments of marriage likelihood and decreased feelings of disgust in male and female respondents (n = 154). We also found that females, more than males, judged impal marriage more likely when there were practical advantages...
July 12, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Casey J Roulette, Edward Hagen, Barry S Hewlett
In the developing world, the dramatic male bias in tobacco use is usually ascribed to pronounced gender disparities in social, political, or economic power. This bias might also reflect under-reporting by woman and/or over-reporting by men. To test the role of gender inequality on gender differences in tobacco use we investigated tobacco use among the Aka, a Congo Basin foraging population noted for its exceptionally high degree of gender equality. We also tested a sexual selection hypothesis-that Aka men's tobacco use is related to risk taking...
June 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Masahito Morita, Hisashi Ohtsuki, Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa
Fertility decline is a great challenge to evolutionary approaches to human behavior. In this study, we apply the perspective of sexual conflict between mother and father to the fertility decline. We predict that, under serial monogamy allowing for mate changes, the ideal number of children for women should be smaller than that for men, because the cost of reproduction for women should be higher than that for men. Our reasoning is that if the cost of child-bearing and child-rearing is higher for women than men, and if women, who therefore would want a smaller number of children than their husbands, have gained more power in reproductive decision-making within a couple owing to the modernization of society, fertility should decline...
June 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
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