Um elo entre altruismo e seleção sexual: ueba, eu também quero!

quinta-feira, outubro 14, 2010

A link between altruism and sexual selection: Genetic influence on altruistic behaviour and mate preference towards it

Authors: Tim Phillips, Eamonn Ferguson and Fruhling Rijsdijk

Source: British Journal of Psychology

Publisher: British Psychological Society


Altruistic behaviour raises major questions for psychology and biology. One hypothesis proposes that human altruistic behaviour evolved as a result of sexual selection. Mechanisms that seek to explain how sexual selection works suggest genetic influence acting on both the mate preference for the trait and the preferred trait itself. We used a twin study to estimate whether genetic effects influenced responses to psychometric scales measuring mate preference towards altruistic traits (MPAT) and the preferred trait (i.e., ‘altruistic personality’). As predicted, we found significant genetic effects influencing variation in both. We also predicted that individuals expressing stronger MPAT and ‘altruistic personality’ would have mated at a greater frequency in ancestral populations. We found evidence for this in that 67% of the covariance in the phenotypic correlation between the two scales was associated with significant genetic effects. Both sets of findings are thus consistent with the hypothesized link between sexual selection and human altruism towards non-kin. We discuss how this study contributes to our understanding of altruistic behaviour and how further work might extend this understanding.

Document Type:

DOI: 10.1348/000712610X493494