Original article:

An evolutionary interpretation of gift-giving behavior in modern Norwegian society

Evolutionary Psychology 4: 406-425 Iver Mysterud, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway, mysterud@bio.uio.noThomas Drevon, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway (Current address: USIT, Web gruppa, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1086 Blindern, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway)Tore Slagsvold, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway

Abstract

We have studied gift giving at Christmas among 50 graduate students in Norway. The students invested more the closer the coefficient of relatedness. However, partners ranked highest, which is natural for people at the start of their reproductive career. All students gave to their parents, siblings, and children, most gave to their grandparents, and only a third gave to some, but not all, of their genetic aunts/uncles. Twenty percent gave to first cousins, and none to second or third cousins. Similar patterns for gifts received were found. There were also sex differences (e.g. women had larger exchange networks than men), and birth order effects. Firstborns spent more on relatives than laterborns. However, middleborns gave more to their male friends than both firstborns and lastborns. We conclude that the results are consistent with theories of kin selection, reciprocity, sex differences and birth order effects.

Keywords

gift giving, kin selection, reciprocity, sex differences, birth order.

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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