Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Martin Daly
This thesis presents research on the nature of human kinship interactions, with special emphasis on birth order and its relationship to discriminative parental treatment of offspring and the development of within family differences. These issues are looked at through the lens of evolutionary psychology, a brief explanation of which is given in chapter 1. Chapter 2 is a theoretical and empirical critique of the applicability of a recent theoretical analysis of family relations in the animal kingdom in general to the specific case of human family relations. Chapters 3 and 4 focus specifically on birth order and parent-offspring relations, and their potential relationship to important life decisions, such as the age at which children leave home, and the amount of education they receive, among other things. Chapter 5 presents work on birth order, or rather, hatch order, and parent-offspring and sibling-sibling relations in a non-human animal, the herring gull, and serves to highlight the close integration of theory that exists between evolutionary psychology and animal behavior. The human and herring gull work represented here are both predicated on the same theoretical groundwork. The different ways in which these influences are played out is a function of the different ecology of these two species.
Davis, Jennifer Nerissa, "Parental Treatment And Offspring Differentiation: An Evolutionary Analysis" (1996). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2327.