Self sacrifice and kin psychology in war: threats to family predict decisions to volunteer for a women's paramilitary organization

Robert Lynch, Virpi Lummaa, John Loehr

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


The conditions that propel humans to make sacrifices for groups of unrelated, and often unknown, individualshas received considerable attention across scientific disciplines. Evolutionary explanations for this type of sa-crifice have focused on how men form strategic coalitions organized around kin networks and reciprocity whenfaced with out-group threats. Few studies, however, have analyzed how women respond to external threats.Using data from one of the largest female paramilitary organizations in history we show that women who havemore brothers, women whose husbands serve in the military and women without children are more likely tovolunteer. These results provide qualified support for the hypothesis that women are more likely to sacrifice fortheir country when members of their family are at risk. Overall, our analysis suggests that self-sacrifice andintense bonding with an imagined community of unknown individuals, such as the nation state, may arise out ofa suite of psychological adaptations designed to facilitate cooperation among kin (i.e. kin psychology). Theseresults can be interpreted within the framework of kin selection showing how individuals come to view un-related group members as family. They may also shed light on various theories of group alignment, such as‘identity fusion’–whereby individuals align their personal identity and interests with those of the group–and onour understanding of evolutionary adaptations that cause women to direct altruism toward in-groups.
LehtiEvolution and Human Behavior
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - marraskuuta 2019
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


  • 515 Psykologia

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