Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective

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Catherine A. Salmon, Catherine Salmon, Todd K. Shackelford, Professor Psychology Todd K Shackelford
Oxford University Press, USA, 2008 - Family & Relationships - 366 pages
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Kinship ties-the close relationships found within the family-have been a central focus of evolutionary biological analyses of social behavior ever since biologist William Hamilton extended the concept of Darwinian fitness to include an individual's actions benefiting not only his own offspring, but also collateral kin. Evolutionary biologists consider organisms not only reproductive strategists, but also nepotistic strategists. If a person's genes are just as likely to be reproduced in her sister as in her daughter, then we should expect the evolution of sororal investment in the same way as one expects maternal investment. This concept has revolutionized biologists' understanding of social interaction and developmental psychologists' understanding of the family. However, kinship ties have largely been ignored in other areas of psychology, particularly social psychology.Family Relationships brings together leading theorists and researchers from evolutionary psychology and related disciplines to illustrate the ways in which an evolutionary perspective can inform our study and understanding of family relationships. The contributors argue that family psychology is relationship specific: the relationship between mother and daughter is different from that between father and daughter or that between brother and sister or sister and sister. In other words, humans have evolved specialized mechanisms for processing information and motivating behavior that deal with the distinct demands of being a mate, father, mother, sibling, child, or grandparent. Such an evolutionary perspective on family dynamics provides a unique insight into human behavior.This volume will be an indispensable resource for psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists, as well scholars of family, marriage, and animal behavior.

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ParentChild Relationships
Other Family Relationships
Applications to Specific Issues
Conclusions and Future Directions

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About the author (2008)

Catherine A. Salmon is Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Redlands. Her research interests are in the areas of kinship and birth order, sexuality, and eating disorders. She is the co-author of Warrior Lovers: Erotic fiction, Evolution and Female Sexuality, and co-editor of Evolutionary Psychology, Public Policy, and Personal Decisions.

Todd K. Shackelford is Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University, Director of the Evolutionary Psychology Lab, and Chair of the Evolutionary Psychology Ph.D. program. His research focuses on conflict between men and women and on family relationships. He is the co-editor of Sperm Competition in Humans, Female Infidelity and Paternal Uncertainty, and Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience.

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