Human inbreeding avoidance: Culture in nature

  title={Human inbreeding avoidance: Culture in nature},
  author={Pierre van den Berghe},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={91 - 102}
Abstract Much clinical and ethnographic evidence suggests that humans, like many other organisms, are selected to avoid close inbreeding because of the fitness costs of inbreeding depression. The proximate mechanism of human inbreeding avoidance seems to be precultural, and to involve the interaction of genetic predispositions and environmental conditions. As first suggested by E. Westermarck, and supported by evidence from Israeli kibbutzim, Chinese sim-pua marriage, and much convergent… 
Mechanisms of Inbreeding Avoidance in Nonhuman Primates
This author reviews the evidence that nonhuman primates avoid mating with their relatives and almost never breed with them and defines close inbreeding as it is defined in this volume.
Levels of Inbreeding Among Prairie Dogs
An examination of five measures of reproductive success failed to reveal inbreeding depression, and it is shown that individuals avoid extreme inbreeding with close kin such as parents, offspring, and full and half siblings, but they regularly inbreed with more distant kin.
The evolutionary psychology of mate selection in Morocco
Two previously separate domains of research are unified in one design that permits the further exploration of questions pertaining to the domain specificity of psychological mechanisms, and the Westermarck hypothesis of inbreeding avoidance is supported.
Are dispersal and inbreeding avoidance related?
An evolutionary analysis of rules regulating human inbreeding and marriage
It is suggested that incest rules do not exist primarily to regulate close-kin mating but to regulate inbreeding between more distant kin (especially cousin categories) and sexual relations between affinal relatives (often nonkin).
Gene-Culture Coevolution: Humankind in the Making
Recent evidence indicates that biological evolution and cultural history are linked together. Study of the linkage has been active in the past several years and constitutes a new phase of
A Family that Climbed Out of Inbreeding Depression
This work analyzes the interaction of mate choice, sexuality, inbreeding avoidance, altruism and parental investment to establish that close-kin marriages are an adaptive response to a shortage of unrelated mates.
The incest taboo?
In this article, it is argued that inbreeding is often harmless and even fitness-enhancing, and Westermarck's hypothesis that children raised together naturally trigger selection mechanisms for sexual avoidance is highly questionable.


Incest and exogamy: A sociobiological reconsideration
Incest Avoidance as a Function of Environment and Heredity [and Comments and Reply]
Analysis in incest avoidance illustrates the inadequacy of efforts to reduce to irrelevance genetic determinants.
Towards a New Theory of the Origin of the Family [and Comments and Reply]
The emergence of the monogamous family in human societies is not satisfactorily explained by traditional theories of its "natural" character or economic origins. This paper proposes a new theory
Trends in human reproductive wastage in relation to long‐term practice of inbreeding
Taking into consideration the various socio-demographic factors, the narrowing differentials in the reproductive wastage between consanguineous and non-consanguineously marriages from the oldest to the youngest women confirm the tapering effects of continued inbreeding practices on the reproductive Wastage.
The Incest Controversy
  • R. Bixler
  • Biology, Psychology
    Psychological reports
  • 1981
Natural selection theory may provide the basis for resolving the controversy which revolves around the role played by genetic and cultural determinants of incest and the frequency with which it is
Pollen dispersal and optimal outcrossing in Delphinium nelsoni
It is suggested that outbreeding depression will often occur on a much finer scale than previously recognised, especially in plants subject to restricted pollen and seed dispersal, and a short outcrossing distance is optimal for Delphinium nelsoni Greene.
Inbreeding effects on fertility and sterility in southern India
The findings from the present study seem to show that long-term inbreeding results in only marginal or non-significant effects on fertility of inbred populations.
Inbreeding effects on fetal growth and development *
It is suggested that long term inbreeding does not lead to appreciable effects on fetal growth and development.
The Precultural Basis of the Incest Taboo: Toward a Biosocial Theory
The literature on the origins of the incest taboo is characterized by controversy over the nature/nurture issue, and fears of reductionism. In recent years work emanating from such diverse
The ecology of mating systems in hypergynous dowry societies
When the famine in Shansi was over, and I began to consider the reasons of it, I felt I must study the causes of human suffering, not only in China but in all the world. In pondering Western