Parental Investment

Dario Maestripieri

in Macachiavellian Intelligence

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780226501178
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226501215 | DOI:
Parental Investment

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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Parents are willing to do for their children far more than they would do for themselves or for any other person in the world. Our understanding of parenting was revolutionized by the evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, who proposed his “parental investment theory” based on the intuition that investing in children is basically no different from investing in the stock market. Trivers also explained that the squabbles between parents and children that we are all familiar with have a genetic cause—something to do with something called the coefficient of relatedness. Parenting is an investment in the real economic sense of the word, and like any other investment, it is regulated by the balance of its costs and benefits. Parents should invest in their children as long as the benefits are greater than the costs. While rhesus macaques do not show many positive emotions such as love or happiness, if they were to have at least one of them, it should be mother love. This chapter shows that mother love in humans and rhesus macaques can be explained by economics.

Keywords: parents; parenting; parental investment; humans; rhesus macaques; Robert Trivers; love; economics; stock market; coefficient of relatedness

Chapter.  8690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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