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Jeans and language: kin networks and reproductive success are associated with the adoption of outgroup norms

He, Qiao-Qiao; Yu, Jie-Ru; Tang, Song-Hua; Wang, Ming-Yang; Wu, Jia-Jia; Chen, Yuan; Tao, Yi; ... Mace, Ruth; + view all (2024) Jeans and language: kin networks and reproductive success are associated with the adoption of outgroup norms. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 379 (1897) , Article 20230031. 10.1098/rstb.2023.0031. Green open access

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Abstract

Traditional norms of human societies in rural China may have changed owing to population expansion, rapid development of the tourism economy and globalization since the 1990s; people from different ethnic groups might adopt cultural traits from outside their group or lose their own culture at different rates. Human behavioural ecology can help to explain adoption of outgroup cultural values. We compared the adoption of four cultural values, specifically speaking outgroup languages/mother tongue and wearing jeans, in two co-residing ethnic groups, the Mosuo and Han. Both groups are learning outgroup traits, including each other's languages through contact in economic activities, education and kin networks, but only the Mosuo are starting to lose their own language. Males are more likely to adopt outgroup values than females in both groups. Females of the two groups are no different in speaking Mandarin and wearing jeans, whereas males do differ, with Mosuo males being keener to adopt them than Han males. The reason might be that Mosuo men experience more reproductive competition over mates, as Mosuo men have larger reproductive skew than others. Moreover, Mosuo men but not others gain fitness benefits from the adoption of Mandarin (they start reproducing earlier than non-speakers). This article is part of the theme issue 'Social norm change: drivers and consequences'.

Type: Article
Title: Jeans and language: kin networks and reproductive success are associated with the adoption of outgroup norms
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2023.0031
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2023.0031
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: culture evolution, frequency-dependent selection, globalization, kin network, reproductive success, Male, Female, Humans, Reproduction, Ethnicity, China, Rural Population, Learning
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/10186160
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