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An Examination of the Westermarck Hypothesis and the Role of Disgust in Incest Avoidance Among Fathers:

An Examination of the Westermarck Hypothesis and the Role of Disgust in Incest Avoidance Among... From an evolutionary perspective, incestuous behavior is puzzling. The goal of this study was to assess the tenability of the Westermarck hypothesis (1891, 1921)—that people who live in close physical proximity with one another during childhood will develop a sexual indifference or aversion toward one another—and the mediating role of disgust as an incest avoidance mechanism in father–daughter relationships. A sample of fathers with daughters (N = 632) from Canada and the United States were recruited by Qualtrics—a survey platform and project management company—to complete an online survey. The results from this study did not support the viability of the Westermarck hypothesis as a mechanism that facilitates incest avoidance for fathers. Physical proximity was not associated with incest propensity or disgust toward incest. Less disgust toward incest, however, was found to be associated with more incest propensity. These results indicate that physical proximity may not be a reliable kinship cue used by fathers to inform incest avoidance, but that disgust toward incest may still be a proximate mechanism that facilitates incest avoidance among fathers using kinship cues other than physical proximity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evolutionary Psychology SAGE

An Examination of the Westermarck Hypothesis and the Role of Disgust in Incest Avoidance Among Fathers:

An Examination of the Westermarck Hypothesis and the Role of Disgust in Incest Avoidance Among Fathers:

Evolutionary Psychology , Volume 17 (2): 1 – May 26, 2019

Abstract

From an evolutionary perspective, incestuous behavior is puzzling. The goal of this study was to assess the tenability of the Westermarck hypothesis (1891, 1921)—that people who live in close physical proximity with one another during childhood will develop a sexual indifference or aversion toward one another—and the mediating role of disgust as an incest avoidance mechanism in father–daughter relationships. A sample of fathers with daughters (N = 632) from Canada and the United States were recruited by Qualtrics—a survey platform and project management company—to complete an online survey. The results from this study did not support the viability of the Westermarck hypothesis as a mechanism that facilitates incest avoidance for fathers. Physical proximity was not associated with incest propensity or disgust toward incest. Less disgust toward incest, however, was found to be associated with more incest propensity. These results indicate that physical proximity may not be a reliable kinship cue used by fathers to inform incest avoidance, but that disgust toward incest may still be a proximate mechanism that facilitates incest avoidance among fathers using kinship cues other than physical proximity.

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © 2022 by SAGE Publications Inc., unless otherwise noted. Manuscript content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons Licenses
ISSN
1474-7049
eISSN
1474-7049
DOI
10.1177/1474704919849924
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

From an evolutionary perspective, incestuous behavior is puzzling. The goal of this study was to assess the tenability of the Westermarck hypothesis (1891, 1921)—that people who live in close physical proximity with one another during childhood will develop a sexual indifference or aversion toward one another—and the mediating role of disgust as an incest avoidance mechanism in father–daughter relationships. A sample of fathers with daughters (N = 632) from Canada and the United States were recruited by Qualtrics—a survey platform and project management company—to complete an online survey. The results from this study did not support the viability of the Westermarck hypothesis as a mechanism that facilitates incest avoidance for fathers. Physical proximity was not associated with incest propensity or disgust toward incest. Less disgust toward incest, however, was found to be associated with more incest propensity. These results indicate that physical proximity may not be a reliable kinship cue used by fathers to inform incest avoidance, but that disgust toward incest may still be a proximate mechanism that facilitates incest avoidance among fathers using kinship cues other than physical proximity.

Journal

Evolutionary PsychologySAGE

Published: May 26, 2019

Keywords: incest; Westermarck; kinship; physical proximity; father; disgust; incest avoidance

References