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Family RelationshipsAn Evolutionary Perspective$
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Catherine A. Salmon and Todd K. Shackelford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320510

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.001.0001

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Kin Detection and the Development of Sexual Aversions: Toward an Integration of Theories on Family Sexual Abuse

Kin Detection and the Development of Sexual Aversions: Toward an Integration of Theories on Family Sexual Abuse

Chapter:
(p.205) 10 Kin Detection and the Development of Sexual Aversions: Toward an Integration of Theories on Family Sexual Abuse
Source:
Family Relationships
Author(s):

Ilanit Tal

Debra Lieberman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.003.0010

Although much is known about the consequences of sexual abuse and the characteristics of the individuals and families involved, these pieces of information have yet to be arranged to form a clear picture of why sexual abuse occurs. This chapter provides an account of how an evolutionary computational framework can help organize what is currently known about sexual abuse and provide a set of answers to the question of why it happens. It focuses specifically on one component of our evolved psychology hypothesized to play a significant role in explaining why sexual abuse occurs: inbreeding avoidance mechanisms. Identifying the cues our evolved psychology uses to detect kin and generate sexual aversions towards them can help illuminate why sexual aversions fail to develop, leading, in some circumstances, to an increased risk of incest or sexual abuse within the family.

Keywords:   incest, inbreeding avoidance, computational framework, mechanisms

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