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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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Evolutionary Perspectives on Sibling Relationships

Evolutionary Perspectives on Sibling Relationships

(p.185) 9 Evolutionary Perspectives on Sibling Relationships
Family Relationships

Richard L. Michalski

Harald A. Euler

Oxford University Press

Sibling relationships are unique. They are the longest lasting human social relationship exceeding, on average, the length of relationships with parents, mates, and children. The powerful underlying evolved psychological mechanisms activated in the contexts of sibling relationships are revealed in the attempts often made by parents to foster closeness between their children. Parents often attempt to groom young children for the arrival of a younger sibling. Put simply, there would be no need for such attempts if it were not for the evolved psychological mechanisms triggered in the minds of children that attempt to counteract the diversion of parental resources to siblings. This chapter shows that the most powerful guidance available to unmask this psychology is offered by evolutionary theories including inclusive fitness theory, parental investment theory, and parent-offspring conflict theory.

Keywords:   inclusive fitness, parental investment, parent-offspring conflict, evolved psychological mechanisms

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