The Evolution of Sports: Exploring Parental Interest in Watching Sports

Menelaos Apostolou, Marianna Zacharia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Across different cultures and different times, people maintain a strong interest in watching other people, and especially, men playing sports. The present paper employs an evolutionary perspective in order to understand how selection forces have shaped this interest. In particular, it is hypothesized that individuals, and particularly men, have evolved an interest to watch other men competing in athletic contest in order to be able to identify useful allies and spouses for their daughters. On this basis, four predictions are derived: people are more interested in watching men than women competing; men are more interested in watching men than women competing; men with daughters are more interested in watching sports, and, finally, men with daughters are more interested in watching men than women competing. A study of 514 parents finds evidence consistent with all four predictions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-162
    Number of pages8
    JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
    Volume1
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

    Keywords

    • Male-male competition
    • Parental choice
    • The evolution of sports

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