Patterns of paternal investment predict cross-cultural variation in jealous response

Brooke A. Scelza, Sean P. Prall, Tami Blumenfield, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Michael Gurven, Michelle Kline, Jeremy Koster, Geoff Kushnick, Siobhán M. Mattison, Elizabeth Pillsworth, Mary Shenk, Kathrine Starkweather, Jonathan Stieglitz, Chun Yi Sum, Kyoko Yamaguchi, Richard McElreath

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Abstract

Long-lasting, romantic partnerships are a universal feature of human societies, but almost as ubiquitous is the risk of instability when one partner strays. Jealous response to the threat of infidelity is well studied, but most empirical work on the topic has focused on a proposed sex difference in the type of jealousy (sexual or emotional) that men and women find most upsetting, rather than on how jealous response varies1,2. This stems in part from the predominance of studies using student samples from industrialized populations, which represent a relatively homogenous group in terms of age, life history stage and social norms3,4. To better understand variation in jealous response, we conducted a 2-part study in 11 populations (1,048 individuals). In line with previous work, we find a robust sex difference in the classic forced-choice jealousy task. However, we also show substantial variation in jealous response across populations. Using parental investment theory, we derived several predictions about what might trigger such variation. We find that greater paternal investment and lower frequency of extramarital sex are associated with more severe jealous response. Thus, partner jealousy appears to be a facultative response, reflective of the variable risks and costs of men’s investment across societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Human Behaviour
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Jealousy
Sex Characteristics
Population
Life Cycle Stages
Students
Costs and Cost Analysis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Scelza, B. A., Prall, S. P., Blumenfield, T., Crittenden, A. N., Gurven, M., Kline, M., ... McElreath, R. (Accepted/In press). Patterns of paternal investment predict cross-cultural variation in jealous response. Nature Human Behaviour. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0654-y
Scelza, Brooke A. ; Prall, Sean P. ; Blumenfield, Tami ; Crittenden, Alyssa N. ; Gurven, Michael ; Kline, Michelle ; Koster, Jeremy ; Kushnick, Geoff ; Mattison, Siobhán M. ; Pillsworth, Elizabeth ; Shenk, Mary ; Starkweather, Kathrine ; Stieglitz, Jonathan ; Sum, Chun Yi ; Yamaguchi, Kyoko ; McElreath, Richard. / Patterns of paternal investment predict cross-cultural variation in jealous response. In: Nature Human Behaviour. 2019.
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abstract = "Long-lasting, romantic partnerships are a universal feature of human societies, but almost as ubiquitous is the risk of instability when one partner strays. Jealous response to the threat of infidelity is well studied, but most empirical work on the topic has focused on a proposed sex difference in the type of jealousy (sexual or emotional) that men and women find most upsetting, rather than on how jealous response varies1,2. This stems in part from the predominance of studies using student samples from industrialized populations, which represent a relatively homogenous group in terms of age, life history stage and social norms3,4. To better understand variation in jealous response, we conducted a 2-part study in 11 populations (1,048 individuals). In line with previous work, we find a robust sex difference in the classic forced-choice jealousy task. However, we also show substantial variation in jealous response across populations. Using parental investment theory, we derived several predictions about what might trigger such variation. We find that greater paternal investment and lower frequency of extramarital sex are associated with more severe jealous response. Thus, partner jealousy appears to be a facultative response, reflective of the variable risks and costs of men’s investment across societies.",
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Scelza, BA, Prall, SP, Blumenfield, T, Crittenden, AN, Gurven, M, Kline, M, Koster, J, Kushnick, G, Mattison, SM, Pillsworth, E, Shenk, M, Starkweather, K, Stieglitz, J, Sum, CY, Yamaguchi, K & McElreath, R 2019, 'Patterns of paternal investment predict cross-cultural variation in jealous response', Nature Human Behaviour. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0654-y

Patterns of paternal investment predict cross-cultural variation in jealous response. / Scelza, Brooke A.; Prall, Sean P.; Blumenfield, Tami; Crittenden, Alyssa N.; Gurven, Michael; Kline, Michelle; Koster, Jeremy; Kushnick, Geoff; Mattison, Siobhán M.; Pillsworth, Elizabeth; Shenk, Mary; Starkweather, Kathrine; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Sum, Chun Yi; Yamaguchi, Kyoko; McElreath, Richard.

In: Nature Human Behaviour, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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T1 - Patterns of paternal investment predict cross-cultural variation in jealous response

AU - Scelza, Brooke A.

AU - Prall, Sean P.

AU - Blumenfield, Tami

AU - Crittenden, Alyssa N.

AU - Gurven, Michael

AU - Kline, Michelle

AU - Koster, Jeremy

AU - Kushnick, Geoff

AU - Mattison, Siobhán M.

AU - Pillsworth, Elizabeth

AU - Shenk, Mary

AU - Starkweather, Kathrine

AU - Stieglitz, Jonathan

AU - Sum, Chun Yi

AU - Yamaguchi, Kyoko

AU - McElreath, Richard

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Long-lasting, romantic partnerships are a universal feature of human societies, but almost as ubiquitous is the risk of instability when one partner strays. Jealous response to the threat of infidelity is well studied, but most empirical work on the topic has focused on a proposed sex difference in the type of jealousy (sexual or emotional) that men and women find most upsetting, rather than on how jealous response varies1,2. This stems in part from the predominance of studies using student samples from industrialized populations, which represent a relatively homogenous group in terms of age, life history stage and social norms3,4. To better understand variation in jealous response, we conducted a 2-part study in 11 populations (1,048 individuals). In line with previous work, we find a robust sex difference in the classic forced-choice jealousy task. However, we also show substantial variation in jealous response across populations. Using parental investment theory, we derived several predictions about what might trigger such variation. We find that greater paternal investment and lower frequency of extramarital sex are associated with more severe jealous response. Thus, partner jealousy appears to be a facultative response, reflective of the variable risks and costs of men’s investment across societies.

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