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Samoan Research is Consistent with the Kin Selection Hypothesis for Male Androphilia

Posted by apiamacaque on 20 Nov 2008 at 12:14 GMT

and later refuted

The Kin Selection Hypothesis for male androphilia (i.e., sexual attraction to adult males) holds that male androphiles can increase their indirect fitness by behaving altruistically toward close family members, who, in turn, benefit in terms of their direct reproductive success. A basic prediction that flows from this hypothesis is that androphilic males should exhibit increased kin-directed altruism relative to their heterosexual counterparts. Camperio Ciani, Cermelli & Zanzotto state that the Kin Selection Hypothesis for male androphilia has been “refuted.” However, Vasey et al. (2007) presented quantitative data demonstrating that androphilic males in Independent Samoa exhibit significantly higher avuncular (i.e., uncle-like) tendencies compared to gynephilic men (i.e., men that are sexually attracted to adult females). This sexual orientation difference in avuncular tendencies was replicated by Vasey & VanderLaan (2008) in Independent Samoa using a larger, independent sample, indicating that it is real and not the result of sampling bias. Androphilic males in Samoa had significantly higher avuncular tendencies even when compared to a more closely matched control group, namely, childless gynephilic men who, like male androphiles, had no direct childcare responsibilities (Vasey & VanderLaan, 2008). In addition, Samoan androphilic males exhibit significantly higher avuncular tendencies compared to the materteral (i.e., aunt-like) tendencies of Samoan mothers and childless women (Vasey & VanderLaan, in press). Consequently, research conducted in Independent Samoa is consistent with a basic prediction of the Kin Selection Hypothesis, namely, that androphilic male should exhibit distinctly elevated levels of altruistic tendencies toward close kin when compared to other individuals whose life histories are (or will be) characterized by direct reproduction.
The Samoan data in no way nullifies the excellent research of Camperio Ciani’s group. Instead, insights derived from the Samoan research dovetail nicely with those outlined by Camperio Ciani in his various publications on this topic. Namely, increased avuncularity among male androphiles, when and where it exists, could potentially facilitate reproduction by female kin and thereby have a positive impact on the sexually antagonistic genes that have been hypothesized to account for increased fecundity in the female kin of male androphiles, as well as, male androphilia, itself.

Vasey, P. L., Pocock, D. S., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2007). Kin selection and male androphilia in Samoan fa’afafine. Evolution & Human Behavior, 28, 159-167. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.08.004.

Vasey, P. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2008). Avuncular tendencies in Samoan fa’afafine and the evolution of male androphila. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9404-3.

Vasey, P.L. & VanderLaan, D.P. (in press) Materteral and avuncular tendencies in Samoa: A comparative study of women, men and fa’afafine. Human Nature.