Women instinctively shun their fathers when they are most fertile, even as they seek out the companionship of their mothers, a new study has shown.
The reason, say the researchers, is evolution. Females in other species have also been observed to give a wide birth to male kin during periods of maximum fertility.
“The behavior has long been explained as a means of avoiding inbreeding and the negative consequences associated with it,” explained lead author Debra Lieberman, a professor at the University of Miami.
“But until we conducted our study, nobody knew whether a similar pattern occurred in women.”
Lieberman and colleagues examined cell phone records of 48 women in their reproductive years, noting the date and duration of all calls with their fathers and, separately, their mothers over the course of a billing period.
They found that women called their dads less frequently during the days when they were ovulating, and would hang up sooner if the calls came the other way.
Overall, daughters were half as likely to ring up papa during high fertility days compared to the period of menstruation. What’s more, the conversations that did occur lasted about half as long.
The subjects weren’t simply trying to evade parental control: even when hormones were working overtime, the women were far more, rather than less, likely to give mom a ring.
“It makes sense that women would reduce their interactions with male genetic relatives, who are undesirable mates,” Lieberman said.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science.(AFP)
1. shun v.
避開 (bi4 kai1)
例: Prices have fallen as buyers continue to shun the market.
2. fertile adj.
能生育的 (neng2 sheng1 yu4 de5)
例: Scientists estimate that the number of fertile men has decreased.
3. evade v.
躲避 (duo3 bi4)
例: The gang is continuing to evade justice.
4. hormone n.
荷爾蒙 (he4 er3 meng2)
例: Researchers have identified a thyroid hormone that could help diabetics.