Single long term monogamous only 40 55

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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The anthropological record indicates that approximately 85 per cent of human societies have permitted men to have more than one wife polygynous marriageand both empirical and evolutionary considerations suggest that large absolute differences in wealth should favour more polygynous marriages.

Yet, monogamous marriage has spread across Europe, and more recently across the globe, even as absolute wealth differences have expanded. Here, we develop and explore the hypothesis that the norms and institutions that compose the modern package of monogamous marriage have been favoured by cultural evolution because of their group-beneficial effects—promoting success in inter-group competition.

In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases i the spousal age gap, ii fertility, and iii gender inequality.

By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide. These predictions are tested using converging lines of evidence from across the human sciences.

Approximately 85 per cent of societies in the anthropological record permit men to marry multiple wives [ 1 ]. Taking wives is always positively associated with status, wealth or nobility [ 2 ], even among highly egalitarian foraging societies [ 3 ]. After the origins of agriculture, as human societies grew in size, complexity and inequality, levels of polygynous marriage intensified, reaching extremes in the earliest empires whose rulers assembled immense harems [ 45 ]. Today, however, with absolute wealth gaps greater than any seen in human history, monogamous marriage is both normative and legally enforced in most of the world's highly developed countries.

While the roots of the package of norms and institutions that constitute modern marriage can be traced back to classical Greece and Rome [ 67 ], the global spread of this peculiar marriage system [ 6 ] has occurred only in recent centuries, as other societies sought to emulate the West, with laws prohibiting polygyny arriving in in Japan, in China, in India and in Nepal. Given its historical rarity and apparent ill-fit with much of our evolved psychology, why has this marriage package spread so successfully? Historically, the emergence of monogamous marriage is particularly puzzling since the very men who most benefit from polygynous marriage—wealthy aristocrats—are often those most influential in setting norms and shaping laws.

Single long term monogamous only 40 55, here we are. This paper develops and tests the hypothesis that the modern package of norms and institutions that constitutes monogamous marriage has been shaped by cultural evolution driven by inter-group competition—a set of processes termed cultural group selection [ 8 ]. The idea is that competition among communities—such as nations, polities or religious organizations—favours those norms, values, beliefs, practices and institutions that most effectively harness, reinforce and shape our Single long term monogamous only 40 55 and behaviour in ways that generate success in inter-group competition.

Over centuries, these processes can lead to the spread of social norms and institutions formal and informal that create societal-level benefits and reduce aggregate societal costs, thereby giving an edge in inter-group competition. Inter-group competition need not result in violent conflict as such processes can produce a differential diffusion of beliefs, norms and institutions from more successful to less successful societies [ 89 ].

This aspect of cultural group selection may be particularly important for spread of normative monogamy.

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Researchers from biology to history have long noted the puzzle of monogamous marriage, and suggested that such norms spread because of their group-beneficial effects [ 610 ]. While historians considering the puzzle have shown how the European historical record is at least consistent with a process driven by cultural group selection, little work has focused on developing and testing predictions regarding how normative monogamy impacts individual psychology, or how if at all those effects aggregate up to impact groups though see Moorad et al.

Single long term monogamous only 40 55, our effort here focuses in developing the broader theoretical and empirical issues, rather than in detailing historical cases. We pursue this hypothesis as follows. First, we distinguish mating strategies from marriage systemsand clarify which aspects of our evolved psychology can be harnessed or reinforced by cultural group selection, and which aspects need to be suppressed. Second, we develop a set of testable hypotheses and their empirical implications. We predict that imposing monogamous marriage reduces male reproductive competition and suppresses intra-sexual competition, which shrinks the size of the pool of low-status, risk-oriented, unmarried men.

These effects result in i lower rates of crime, personal abuse, intra-household conflict and fertility, and ii greater parental investment especially maleeconomic productivity gross domestic product GDP per capita and female equality. We draw on both longitudinal and cross-sectional evidence from diverse disciplines. In some cases, we provide solid empirical tests of specific predictions or implications.

In other cases, the available evidence provides only qualified support, basic consistency or prima-facie plausibility. As usual, future work may find the theory wanting and specific hypotheses wrong. In closing, we i contrast the conditions favourable to the spread of monogamous versus polygynous marriage, ii consider alternative hypotheses for the spread of monogamous marriage, and iii speculate on how marriage systems might be linked to the rise of democratic institutions and industrial economic growth. It is crucial to recognize that marriage norms are not the same as our evolved mating psychology.

Humans, like all primates, possess an evolved psychology that influences our choices regarding mates, mating, reproduction and parental investment. For established evolutionary reasons, male and female mating psychologies differ in important ways. As in other primates, these different mating strategies yield a mating system or range of systemsas individuals cooperate and compete under different ecological and economic circumstances see Single long term monogamous only 40 55 supplementary material.

Here, we first summarize key points about human mating strategies, and then discuss marriage systems. Our approach considers how specific marriage systems might be favoured by cultural group selection because of how they harness aspects of our evolved psychology. There is much evidence that the mating strategies of men and women differ. Like many mammals, human females invest more heavily in their offspring than males. Humans also pair-bond [ 1213 ]—both monogamously and polygamously—in collaborations that encourage more extensive male parental investment and a division of labour.

This means that men generally have higher variance in fitness than women [ 14 ]. When competition for mates is fierce, less-attractive low-status men risk being shut-out entirely from mating.

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Since the fitness difference between having one long-term mate and zero mates is—on average—large, low-status males should often pursue risky, high-stakes, strategies that provide some chance of avoiding fitness oblivion [ 15 ]. This means that cues that indicate intensive intra-sexual selection should spark competitive motivations, steep temporal discounting and risk proneness. Low intra-sexual competition means that nearly all males can find at least one mate, and status gains do not lead to steep increases in reproductive success.

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Here, pursuing safe, long-term strategies like pair-bonding is favoured—that is, men will be more risk-averse and more patient. All fathers must decide whether to invest in their offspring or in seeking additional mates. This decision should depend on paternity certainty, and on the marginal payoffs to investing in offspring versus additional matings. When the rich high-status men cannot easily gain additional mates, they should invest more in offspring see electronic supplementary material.

Women also possess flexible mating strategies. However, their direct fitness is limited to the of children that they can bear and rear. For our purposes, when males vary substantially in status based on skill, resources, power, etc. Polygynous pair-bonding is more Single long term monogamous only 40 55 to women than is polyandrous pair-bonding to men. Polyandrous men face paternity uncertainty—they are rather uncertain about which children are theirs—and must compete for their mate's limited reproductive capacities gestation, lactation, etc.

Polygynously mated women face neither maternal uncertainty nor usually competition for their mate's essentially unlimited sperm. This implies that under conditions in which men vary substantially in status, polygynous pair-bonding is a likely outcome of both male and female mating choices. The electronic supplementary material further details and supports these points.

Marriage systems are distinct from mating strategies. Humans, unlike other species, are heavily reliant on cultural learning for acquiring all manner of behaviours and practices, including social behaviour. Because humans also acquire the standards by which they judge others as part of this process, cultural evolution gives rise to social norms. Failure to conform to norms in reputational damage, loss of status and various forms of sanctioning [ 16 ]. Different societies have evolved diverse sets of norms that regulate pair-bonds.

Such marriage norms influence people's long-term pair-bonds, and thus their mating choices. Being married comes with economic, social and sexual expectations, prescriptions and prohibitions for both parties, who Single long term monogamous only 40 55 accordingly evaluated—formally or informally—by their community.

Marriage norms govern such areas as who i can marry whom e. Marriage norms also specify rules about partner and arrangement e. The key to understanding marriage versus pure pair-bonding is recognizing the role of a community in defining, sanctioning and enforcing marriage norms. This element of human social life is routinely missed in non-cultural approaches to monogamy [ 1718 ]. Marriage norms are certainly not independent of our mating psychology, nor can they entirely subvert it.

They can, however, influence behavioural patterns in two ways.

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First, humans readily internalize social norms, at least partially. This means norms become internalized such that norm adherence is intrinsically rewarding [ 16 ]. Work in neuroscience has shown how both adhering to local norms and punishing norm violators activates the brain's reward circuitry [ 19 ]. Second, the fact that people acquire and internalize norms means that norm violators can be condemned and sanctioned [ 20 ]. Sanctioning, independent of any internalization, in norm violators suffering real costs. Thus, many marriage systems have culturally evolved to reinforce our evolved pair-bonding strategy, leading to more enduring male—female collaborations.

This galvanizing effect of some marriage systems is thrown into stark relief by the existence of alternative systems like those possessed by i the Na in China, whose norms suppress long-term pair-bonding and operate without either marriage or paternal investment [ 21 ] or ii various South American societies, whose norms allow the spreading of perceived paternity, and paternal investment, across two or more fathers [ 22 ].

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Of course, the prescriptions and prohibitions of marriage systems sets of norms and the actual mating patterns in human societies often do not match up—nor should we expect them to. Consider that some societies possess marriage norms specifying that each man and woman shall marry once in their lifetime.

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After marriage they shall never seek any sexual or romantic relationship with anyone else, ever, and all resources must be devoted to the good of the household. As with other norm violations like theft and lying, this never quite works out, as our evolved mating psychology gives rise to broad societal-level patterns of infidelity, divorce, prostitution, etc. But there is little doubt that particular marriage systems shape and influence the resultant mating patterns, as well as parental investment.

In nineteenth century Europe, for example, non-marital fertility was so slight as to be demographically negligible despite substantial rates of late marriage and of adults who never married [ 23 ]. Thus, social norms are powerful enough to buttress our pair-bonding psychology, such that most people in a society have only one long-term mate, or to curtail almost all long-term pair-bonding, or to allow women to actively seek extra-pair copulations while repressing male jealously.

Marriage systems found throughout the anthropological record reflect and amplify aspects of our mating psychology. As noted, most human societies permit polygynous marriage in some form, including most foraging societies [ 324 ]. In polygynous societies, a man's social status, hunting skill, nobility and wealth lead to more wives [ 25 ]. Meanwhile, polyandrous marriage is relatively rare, often involves brothers marrying the same wife, and is frequently intermixed Single long term monogamous only 40 55 polygynous marriages within the same population see the electronic supplementary material.

The 15 per cent or so of societies in the anthropological record with monogamous marriage fall into two disparate : i small-scale societies inhabiting marginal environments with little status distinctions among males and ii some of history's largest and most successful ancient societies. Ecologically imposed monogamy occurs because the societies lack sufficiently large differences in male wealth or status to motivate women to become second wives.

Socially imposed monogamy covers situations in which norms or laws regulate spousal along with inheritance and divorce rightsincluding circumstances in which a noble class forcibly imposes monogamous marriage on commoners while retaining polygyny for themselves see the electronic supplementary material. We hypothesize that as social inequalities expanded over human history and societies became increasingly complex, the group-level benefits of normative monogamous marriage increased.

In relatively egalitarian societies, including most foragers, the social implications of polygynous marriages are minor. Few men in these societies achieve sufficient status to attract additional wives, and if they do, this is typically limited to one [ 27 ]. Among these foraging groups, very successful men might rarely obtain three or at most four wives [ 28 ]. For example, among tropical African foragers, the rates of polygyny range from 3 to 20 per cent [ 29 ].

As the wealth and inequality of societies increased over the course of societal evolution, our evolved psychology operating through within-group cultural evolutionary processes increased the degree of polygynous marriage among the richest and most powerful men [ 428 ].

This increase in polygynous marriage would have led to predictable effects see below. In the most complex societies high-end states [ 30 ]where a society's competitive success is influenced by its economic output, standing armies, innovation rates, trade, division of labour Single long term monogamous only 40 55 offspring quality, higher rates of polygynous marriage reduce a society's competitive success. Under these conditions, normative monogamy increases a society's competitiveness because of how it influences crime rates, male motivations, paternal investment, fertility and economic production.

Lower crime rates favour more commerce, greater investment, more freely flowing information, greater economic production and a finer division of labour. Greater paternal investment and lower fertility favour higher quality offspring. Several of these factors favour greater innovation and more rapid economic growth. In this section, we present and empirically assess a series of inter-related hypotheses about how the extent and intensity of polygynous marriages negatively impact a group's success, stability or competitive ability, and clarify the effects created by normative monogamy.

In particular, the customs and laws regulating divorce e. Our approach predicts that increasing the extent and intensity of polygynous marriage increases male intrasexual competition.

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This implies that opportunities for sexual selection will be higher in more polygynous societies. Norms and institutions requiring monogamous marriage—or reducing polygyny—should reduce the strength of sexual selection. Here, we review two lines of evidence indicating that normative monogamy reduces intra-sexual competition. First, we present evidence indicating that the intensity of intra-sexual competition declined when monogamous marriage was gradually imposed on nineteenth century Mormon communities.

Then, we show that the intensity of intrasexual competition is lower in normatively monogamous societies drawn from a sample of 18 societies with diverse marriage norms. Data from Mormon communities between and show that intra-sexual competition declined dramatically as governmental forces suppressed polygynous Single long term monogamous only 40 55 [ 11 ] through a series of civil, legal, legislative, financial and military manoeuvres that began in the s and had mostly ended bywhen the Latter-day Saints church officially disavowed the practice of plural marriage.

The estimated ratio of the opportunities for sexual selection on males I m versus that on females I f provides a key measure. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, this ratio had dropped and levelled off at 1. The size of intrasexual competition had dropped by more than eight times during the period when monogamous marriage was imposed. Bateman gradients, which provide a different measure, tell the same story [ 11 ]. While this analysis is consistent with our hypothesis, it cannot causally isolate the effect of the imposition of monogamous marriage on intra-sexual competition because many other historical processes occurred over the same time period.

The Mormon value of 2. The value of 1. Figure 1 contrasts the amount of sexual competition in societies with normative monogamy and those without it.

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Chapter Marriage and Family