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Family matters: rethinking the psychology of human social motivation

Ko, Ahra, Pick, Cari M., Kwon, Jung Yul, Barlev, Michael, Krems, Jaimie Arona, Varnum, Michael E. W., Neel, Rebecca, Peysha, Mark, Boonyasiriwat, Watcharaporn, Brandstätter, Eduard, and others. (2020) Family matters: rethinking the psychology of human social motivation. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15 . pp. 173-201. ISSN 1745-6916. E-ISSN 1745-6924. (doi:10.1177/1745691619872986) (KAR id:75338)

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What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Historically, social psychologists, especially those adopting an evolutionary perspective, have devoted a great deal of research attention to sexual attraction and romantic partner choice (mate-seeking). Research on long-term familial bonds (mate retention and kin care) has been less thoroughly connected to relevant comparative and evolutionary work on other species, and in the case of kin care, less well researched. Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally view familial motives as primary in importance, and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. College students, single people, and males place relatively higher emphasis on mate-seeking, but even those samples rated kin care motives as more important. Further, motives linked to long-term familial bonds are positively associated with psychological well-being, but mate-seeking motives are associated with anxiety and depression. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate-seeking, and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals. Reallocating relatively greater research effort toward long-term familial relationships would likely yield many interesting new findings relevant to everyday people’s highest social priorities.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1745691619872986
Uncontrolled keywords: sexual attraction; familial bonds; priorities
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Ayse Uskul
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2019 08:33 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Uskul, Ayse K.:
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