Original article:

Is there a sensitive period in human incest avoidance?

Evolutionary Psychology 9(2): 285-295 Liqun Luo, Research Center for Social Development & Social Policy, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, P. R. China, lqluo@mail.ccnu.edu.cn


Many studies support the proposition that early cosocialization with opposite-sex children has the effect of inhibiting later mutual sexual attraction, but the existence of a period in the life cycle in which individuals are sensitive to the effect of early cosocialization has been a matter of controversy. Drawing on earlier traditional psychological research, and on more recent work guided by parental investment theory, we hypothesized that only for maternal perinatal association (MPA)-absent males a less-than- around-three-years age difference with the sister can predict stronger aversion to sibling incest. The results corroborated the hypothesis. The results can be interpreted as support for the existence of a sensitive period as well as for the potent role of MPA. Cross-cultural comparative studies were called on to further test the hypothesis.


incest, early cosocialization, sexual aversion, sensitive period, MPA

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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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