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Arranged unions and distrust: The influence of parental choice on mate guarding
Date:2/1/2011

Groningen, The Netherlands February 1, 2011 Mate guarding is classified as excessive or unwarranted jealous or protective behavior towards a spouse or mate. This is common among many different species and can be useful to defend territory, guarantee paternity, or prevent disease. The authors of a new study published in Personal Relationships have discovered that this behavior is more common in societies which practice arranged marriages or in cultures that place a high value on parental influence in the choice of mate for their children. Furthermore, the authors comment on the fact that mate guarding is not an exclusively male phenomenon, and women can be just as forceful in protecting their monogamous relationships.

In many cultures, rules, behavioral practices, and physical measures, including veiling and walled courtyards, have been applied to prevent contact between women and potential sexual partners. The current findings indicate that the occurrence of mate guarding is more prevalent in Muslim, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, and South Asian societies.

Lead author A.P. Buunk, "In Western cultures, most husbands do not actively try to prevent contacts between their wife and other men and may even accept a moderate degree of flirting. In contrast, in many Islamic cultures husbands actively prevent even superficial contact between a female member and another man. If a male cannot guarantee the paternity of their offspring, they could very well be investing precious resources in another man's offspring. It therefore becomes most important to ensure the fidelity of the female mate."

There is considerable evolutionary evidence that in most societies and historical periods, marriage has been at least partly arranged and has been based on a series of familial considerations rather than on the desires of the individuals concerned. In their article the authors emphasize that the degree in which parents control the mate choic
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Contact: Bethany Carland-Adams
scholarlynews@wiley.com
781-388-8509
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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