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Nepotistic nosiness : inclusive fitness and vigilance of kin's romantic relationships Faulkner, Jason Paul

Abstract

People often express concern over their kin's romantic relationship outcomes. Evolutionary psychological reasoning, informed by inclusive fitness logic, implies several testable predictions about the conditions under which people will devote greater vigilance to their kin's romantic relationships. Four studies presented in this dissertation tested these novel predictions. Results of all four studies revealed that, as predicted, people are more vigilant of their genetically closer kin. Additional findings that emerged from one of these studies suggested that this effect is mediated by the perception of characteristics in kin that, at a heuristic level, connote genetic relatedness. Results of these studies provided evidence partially supporting predicted sex differences in relationship vigilance. Three studies indicated that women are more vigilant of their kin's relationships than men. Three studies also indicated that people are more vigilant of their female kin's relationships, compared to their male kin's relationships, but only under conditions for which greater inclusive fitness consequences are likely at stake. One study also tested and provided support for the prediction that people are relatively more vigilant of their kin's long-term, committed romantic relationships. Two additional studies tested predictions derived from inclusive fitness logic about the preferences that people hold for their kin's romantic partners. Both studies provided some evidence suggesting that, as predicted, people hold different preferences for their male and female kin's partners. One of these studies also tested and supported the prediction that people hold their kin's long-term romantic partners to relatively higher standards. These findings suggest that people's concerns about their kin's romantic relationships are the product of several factors not considered in previous research. These findings also imply that a subtle form of nepotism is reflected in the vigilance that people hold over their kin's relationships.

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