'Oh my child, what an inappropriate spouse for you!': Asymmetrical preferences and parent-offspring conflict over mating

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Abstract

During human evolutionary time, parents have been influential in controlling the mating decisions of their offspring. As a result, they have evolved preferences that enable them to choose as sons-in-law and daughters-in-law those individuals who are most beneficial for them. Despite parental control over mating, offspring have been able to exercise their own mate choice, and they have evolved preferences which enable them to choose as mates those individuals who are most beneficial for them. However, parents and offspring are not genetically identical and thus they do not share identical interests with respect to mate choice. As a consequence, in-law and mate preferences do not always converge, with a number of traits being valued differently in an in-law and in a spouse. Recent advancements in evolutionary psychology have identified specific in-law and mate preferences, along with specific areas of disagreement between the two. These findings have important implications for psychology, evolutionary theory and the social sciences, which are further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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