October 5 , 2012
Week 4, class 2, Friday
adaptive killing: evolutionary killing.
Homicide adaptation theory
• Killing is adaptive
• Psychological adaptations for killing that have evolved because they successfully solved
specific recurrent adaptive problems in our past.
1. Preventing the exploitation, injury, rape, or killing of the self or kin.
2. Reputation managment against being perceived as vulnerable
(i.e easily exploited, injured, raped or killed)
3. Protecting Resources
4. Eliminating resource-absorbing or costly individuals who were not genetically related.
5. Eliminating genetic relatives who are too detrimental to resource investment in genetic fitness.
Texas Cadet Murder
Love kills: protecting resources
Diane Zamora and David Graham
Romantic Rival:Adrianne Jones
“..the family is perhaps the most violent social group, and the home, the most violent social setting, in
our society. Aperson is more likely to be hit or killed in his or her home by another family member
thatn anywehre else or by anyone else” Gelles and Straus
parental protection evolved to expend resources including the parents own life to enhance the
reproductive prospects of their descendants. (will die for child so child's life is preserved)
Children = resource “black hole”
Substitute parents care less profoundly for non-bio children than genetic parents.
Eliminating resource absorbing or costly individuals who were not genetically related.
Canadian Data: ('74- '83)
Children 11x more likely to be murdered by a stepparent than a biological parent
Offspring are the means to genetic posterity
Yet, trade off between child's parenting needs do not always compliment the resources needed to
optimize the parent.
Offsprings prospects may be insufficient to offset that child's detrimental effect on the parent's capacity
to adaptive optimally.
Cases where parents might not invest in a newborn:
1. Doubt that offspring is their own child
2. Indications of poor offspring quality
3. External pressures: food scarcity, lack social support, demand of older offspring.
intentional killing of one's infanticide FILICIDE:
Intentional killing of one's child.
Eliminating genetic relatives who interfere with investments in other vehicles better able to translate
resource investment into genetic fitness.
Role of age in filicide:
Younger children more vulnerable to filicide