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Lecture 16

PSYC 3100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Cinderella Effect, Child Murder, Stepfamily

Course Code
PSYC 3100
Pat Barclay

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Outline Lecture 16 Parenting 2
1. Discriminative Parental Care
The basic logic: invest parental investment optimally & avoid wasting it
parental investment is costly!
-prediction: parental love should have evolved to allocate parental resources optimally
-types of discrimination:
Quality: will this offspring make it?
Need: how much would this offspring benefit from P.I?
Age: are they almost at a “safe” age?
Identity: is this baby mine?
2. Some Bases for Discriminating
- Phenotypic quality: can this offspring convert parental investment into parental fitness gains?
- Need: how much difference will this investment make?
Age: how close to independence is this child?
Identity: is the kid really mine? (e.g., paternal uncertainty)
when will organisms recognize own young?
Razorbill does not recognize own eggs/young, will feed offspring in nest
-nest in cliffs: far apart nests. Unlikely mix-ups of young
Guillemot recognizes own offspring, rejects unrelated offspring
-nest in colonies: mix-ups possible of young
-recognizes individual offspring to target parental investment
general point: some species use individual recognition cues for DPS,
others use different cues that are just as effective in species' natural
3. Cinderella Effect: treating genetic children better than step-children
Introduction, evidence in mistreatment rates, + cross-cultural ubiquity
could be because step-parents' abuse is more likely to be reported
homicide per million co-residing parent-child dyads (much higher in step-parent)
Generalization to other forms of discrimination
cross cultural: big difference in child homicide rates by step vs. Genetic parents in
Australia, Britain, Canada, USA
big differences in nonlethal abuse in studies in Australia, Britain, Canada, Columbia,
Finland, etc.
Big difference in child mortality rates in Ache hunter-gatherers
Strong parental sentiments vs. Those of surrogate parents
prediction: more positive behaviour & less negative behaviour from a biological
parents than from a surrogate (all else equal)
cinderella story: mistreated step child in many cultures. Inhibition to mistreat your
child because of parental mechanisms.
Abuse as a “negative assay”
per 1000 children with genetic parents, and one genetic and one step-parent
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