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R Soc Open Sci. 2016 Feb 17;3(2):150632. doi: 10.1098/rsos.150632. eCollection 2016 Feb.

Kinship as a frequency dependent strategy.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Centre for Computational and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, People's Republic of China; Department of Anthropology, University College London, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW, UK.
2
Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology , Centre for Computational and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing 100101, People's Republic of China.
3
Department of Anthropology , University College London , 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW, UK.

Abstract

Humans divide themselves up into separate cultures, which is a unique and ubiquitous characteristic of our species. Kinship norms are one of the defining features of such societies. Here we show how norms of marital residence can evolve as a frequency-dependent strategy, using real-world cases from southwestern China and an evolutionary game model. The process of kinship change has occurred in the past and is also occurring now in southwestern China. Our data and models show how transitions between residence types can occur both as response to changing costs and benefits of co-residence with kin, and also due to the initial frequency of the strategies adopted by others in the population: patrilocal societies can become matrilocal, and neolocal societies can become duolocal. This illustrates how frequency-dependent selection plays a role both in the maintenance of group-level cultural diversity and in cultural extinction.

KEYWORDS:

frequency-dependent selection; kinship; post-marital residence

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