Title

Altruism and Reproductive Limitations

Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

psychology, social sciences

Abstract

We examined how different types of reproductive limitations — functional (schizoid personality disorder and schizophrenia), physical (malnutrition), and sexual (bisexuality and homosexuality) — influenced altruistic intentions toward hypothetical target individuals of differing degrees of relatedness (r = 0, .25, and .50). Participants were 312 undergraduate students who completed a questionnaire on altruism toward hypothetical friends, half-siblings, and siblings with these different types of reproductive limitations. Genetic relatedness and reproductive limitations did not influence altruistic decision-making when the cost of altruism was low but did as the cost of altruismincreased, with participants being more likely to help a sibling over a half-sibling and a half-sibling over a friend. Participants also indicated they were more likely to help a healthy (control) person over people with a reproductive limitation. Of the three types of reproductive limitations, functional limitations had the strongest effect on altruistic decision-making, indicating that people were less likely to help those who exhibit abnormal social behavior.

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