Parental Influence over Mate Choice

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Across different cultures and times, parents exercise considerable influence over their children’s mating decisions. This chapter examines why and how parents influence mate choice, and the evolutionary implications of such influence. In particular, it will be argued that, from the perspective of parents, there is an opportunity cost arising from allowing children to exercise mate choice on their own, which motivates parents to influence mate choice in order to reduce it. In the preindustrial context, parents influenced mate choice more directly, through social institutions such as arranged marriage, which is examined in detail. In postindustrial societies, such as the United States, parents exercise influence indirectly through manipulation, and this chapter examines the manipulation tactics they employ. There are reasons to believe that parental influence has been strong for the greatest part of human evolution, which is likely to have affected the evolutionary trajectory of several mechanisms or adaptations involved in mating. The present chapter discusses some of these adaptations and how they have been affected by the transition to the postindustrial environment, where parental influence over mating is much weaker.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Human Mating
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9780197536438
    ISBN (Print)9780197536438
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


    • arranged marriage
    • parent-offspring conflict
    • parental choice
    • parental control
    • parental influence over mating


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