Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Selfless' genes attract mates, psychologists find

Date:
October 14, 2010
Source:
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Summary:
There is genetic evidence that selfless or altruistic behavior may have evolved because it was one of the qualities our ancestors looked for in a mate, psychologists in the UK report.

There is genetic evidence that selfless or altruistic behaviour may have evolved because it was one of the qualities our ancestors looked for in a mate.

Related Articles


This is the finding of Dr Tim Phillips and colleagues from the University of Nottingham and Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London whose results were published in the British Journal of Psychology.

The study investigated whether altruistic behaviour evolved as a result of sexual selection. 70 identical and 87 non-identical female twin pairs completed questionnaires relating to their own levels of altruism (e.g. "I have given money to charity") and how desirable they found this in potential mates (e.g. "Once dived into a river to save someone from drowning").

Statistical analysis of their responses revealed that genes influenced variation in both the subjects' preference towards a mate and their own altruistic behaviour -- an indication that sexual selection might be at work.

Interestingly, there was also a genetic correlation between the two. This suggested that, in our evolutionary past, those with a stronger mate preference towards altruistic behaviour mated more frequently with more altruistic people, thus further supporting a link with sexual selection.

Tim explained: "These results are consistent with a link between human altruism towards non-relatives and sexual selection and throws an exciting new light on the puzzle of altruistic behaviour -- which appears, at first sight, to be at odds with evolutionary theory."

"The expansion of the human brain would have greatly increased the cost of raising children so it would have been important for our ancestors to choose mates both willing and able to be good, long-term parents. Displays of altruism could well have provided accurate clues to this and so led to a link between human altruism and sexual selection."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Psychological Society (BPS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tim Phillips, Eamonn Ferguson and Fruhling Rijsdijk. A link between altruism and sexual selection: Genetic influence on altruistic behaviour and mate preference towards it. British Journal of Psychology, 2010; DOI: 10.1348/000712610X493494

Cite This Page:

British Psychological Society (BPS). "'Selfless' genes attract mates, psychologists find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013083322.htm>.
British Psychological Society (BPS). (2010, October 14). 'Selfless' genes attract mates, psychologists find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013083322.htm
British Psychological Society (BPS). "'Selfless' genes attract mates, psychologists find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013083322.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins