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Sex differences in costly signaling in rural Western China

CaiRangDongZhi; Ge, Erhao; Du, Juan; Mace, Ruth; (2023) Sex differences in costly signaling in rural Western China. Evolution and Human Behavior , 44 (2) pp. 80-87. 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2023.02.009. Green open access

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Costly rituals convey commitment to communities and advertise trustworthiness and cooperativeness to peers, which might explain why humans perform costly religious rituals. Here, we compare the efficacy of occasional public displays versus regular but less public acts for prestige enhancement. We collected data on religious behaviors ranging from daily low-cost practices to infrequent high-cost pilgrimages to distant locations among residents of an agricultural Tibetan village, as well as their reputational standings. We find that religious practices are mediated by demographic factors such as wealth, age and gender. Women perform more daily religious activities, but men engage more in distant pilgrimages. Participation in distant pilgrimages increases the perception of all prosocial characteristics. In contrast, daily practices are positively associated with nominations for devoutness but not for other qualities. Devoutness is sometimes negatively associated with other reputational qualities, suggesting that religiosity might be not only about signaling prosociality.

Type: Article
Title: Sex differences in costly signaling in rural Western China
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2023.02.009
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2023.02.009
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CC-BY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Keywords: Gender, Costly, signaling theory, Religious practices, Reputation.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167428
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