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Sibling competition and dispersal drive sex differences in religious celibacy

Micheletti, AJC; Mace, R; (2024) Sibling competition and dispersal drive sex differences in religious celibacy. Evolution and Human Behavior 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2024.01.004. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Religious practices vary greatly worldwide. Lifelong celibacy is present in many world religions, but it remains unclear why the frequency of monks and nuns (male and female celibates) varies at different times and places. Here, we develop a two-sex inclusive fitness model of lifelong celibacy. We find that the sex that competes more over parental resources is favoured to have more celibates, that is more monks than nuns are expected when brother-brother competition is higher than sister-sister competition. Moreover, the extent to which brothers and sisters compete over the same parental resources influences these patterns: intermediate sibling competition leads to more extreme differences in the proportion of monks and nuns. The sex that disperses less is also favoured to have more celibates. We show how our model can explain variation in the frequency of monks and nuns in three populations that differ in post-marital residence, marriage systems and inheritance rules.

Type: Article
Title: Sibling competition and dispersal drive sex differences in religious celibacy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2024.01.004
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2024.01.0...
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Religion, Competition, Celibacy, Cultural evolution, Inclusive fitness, Marriage
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/10186819
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