Article

Passion and Compassion: Psychology of Kin Relations Within and Beyond the Family

Justin H. Park and Joshua M. Ackerman

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Family Psychology

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195396690
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195396690.013.0019

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Passion and Compassion: Psychology of Kin Relations Within and Beyond the Family

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Family is special. People avoid sexual contact with close relatives, but at the same time are highly beneficent toward them. Such discriminatory behavior is guided by a set of psychological mechanisms, heuristics that facilitate evolutionarily adaptive behavior most of the time but may lead to overperception of kinship under specific circumstances. In this chapter, we describe psychological mechanisms of kin recognition in sexual and altruistic contexts, and we discuss the extent to which these mechanisms may influence close relationships between unrelated individuals, resulting in an experience of “psychological kinship.” We suggest that friendship may provide a context within which overinclusive kin recognition is especially likely to occur, especially among women. We also identify questions for future research, including when men might be especially prone to overperceiving kinship.

Keywords: Altruism; family; friendship; incest avoidance; kin recognition; kinship

Article.  12131 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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